March Madness or Marketing Madness?

It’s that time again! Where some might think of March and think spring time or St. Patrick’s Day, sports fans think March Madness. Marketers and sponsors, however, think “big bucks”.  During the 2017 season, each game received a total of an estimated 5.6 million viewers! According to Statista, March Madness is the most expensive basketball event for television advertisers. In 2017, television advertisers spent about $1,285m on March Madness, falling just less than $300m behind the average amount spent on the NFL’s Superbowl at $1,547m! This is a big chunk of cash, but March Madness advertisers and sponsors know exactly what they are doing, especially when regarding an increase in brand power through social media engagement.

NCAA’s Corporate Sponsors in 2018

Some of March Madness’s biggest corporate sponsors include Capital One (listed by NCAA as one of their corporate champions), Unilever, and Reece’s, all of which received a huge increase in social media engagement during the basketball event during the 2018 season. Social media engagement, in this case, includes likes, shares, mentions, comments, and follows across both Facebook and Twitter platforms. Sponsoring a large-scale sporting event = GENIUS MOVE!


Source: Forbes 

NCAA’s Top Restaurant Sponsors in 2018

Hats off to Wendy’s for leading their category with a whopping 30,749 social media engagements from March 11th-March 19th! The social affinity index “measures how much more likely people who are already engaging with the NCAA tournament on social media will mention a certain brand”. Wendy’s social affinity index more than doubled all others in the restaurant category! According to Forbes, users were 450 times more likely to mention Wendy’s than the average social media user in the month of March. Oh, the power basketball holds! Here is a peak at how March Madness’s top restaurant sponsors benefitted from their screen time in 2018:


Source: Forbes

Who knows what’s to come during this 2019 March Madness season?! What we do know is that NCAA sponsors are buckling up and getting ready to see an increase in brand power. The best part about being a normal sport’s consumer like you and me? THE GAME!