There is an understandable frenzy of media buzz every January about Super Bowl commercials. This is mostly driven by gimmicks and celebrities rather than advertising that pulls its weight for brands. But one sporting event is often overlooked and actually does deliver an excellent opportunity to advertisers: the NCAA’s March Madness.
As with the Super Bowl, the audience for March Madness is large. The viewer demographics are also strong, cutting across gender, ethnicity, and age groups. And the real-time nature of the competition discourages time-shifting (and the associated commercial skipping).
One unique advantage March Madness has is its multi-week span. This provides a much wider promotional window than a one-off event. But is this the real differentiator that makes the tournament so successful for advertisers?
Some will say it’s a digital-driven win. But while the NCAA has certainly done a good job with social media to encourage viewer engagement, March Madness was a hot advertising venue for years before Facebook or Twitter came along.
There are two key drivers underlying the success of the NCAA’s college basketball finals from an advertising value standpoint.