/// Show Me the Moneyball: March Madness Generates $1 Billion in Ad Sales
Arguably the most spellbinding three weeks in sports, the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship now stands as the most lucrative post-season advertising juggernaut. According to a new report from Kantar Media , March Madness last year scared up more ad dollars for CBS and Turner Sports than the respective playoffs and championship series for the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and National Hockey League. From March 13 to April 2, 2012, CBS and the Turner nets (TNT, TBS, truTV) generated just over $1 billion in tournament ad sales revenue. Kantar’s figures do not take into account the $60 million in digital inventory sold by CBS and Turner. Last year’s haul put March Madness over the top for the first time. Per Kantar estimates, the college hoops tourney just edged the aggregate ad spend in the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl ($976.3 million), while handily out-earning the two-month NBA postseason ($536.9 million) and October baseball on TBS and Fox ($354.1 million). The 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs generated around $101.1 million in ad sales revenue. The 2012 tourney marked the second year of the 14-year CBS-Turner collaboration . Since the partners began broadcasting all 67 March Madness games live, ad spend has soared 64 percent from $614 million in 2010. Including pre- and post-game coverage, CBS/Turner’s live March Madness coverage attracted 85 unique advertisers. Nearly every major auto manufacturer was represented in the 2012 tourney, a roster that included Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes, Nissan and Volkswagen. GM was the biggest spender last year, investing $80.3 million in tourney TV inventory. NCAA corporate sponsors also show up in force. Among these are a pair of auto marques (GM’s Buick and Nissan’s Infiniti) and two insurance companies (Allstate and Northwestern Mutual). AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola serve as “NCAA Corporate Champions,” a select cadre of top-tier sponsors that invest north of $35 million per year for the privilege of aligning themselves with the tourney.