2019 NCAA Championship Games Bring in Revenue

Ah, there is nothing like spring. The days get longer, the weather warmer, and the hoops get a workout!

March is madness indeed when the NCAA basketball tournament games get underway. Instead of working (or studying) fans stealthily watch games at work, home, on TVs, computers, and phones. Brackets get filled out, hopes rise; and then inevitably, hearts get broken. While not the largest total viewership of any sporting event, nonetheless the Men’s NCAA championship game draws a large audience – and with it, a lot of advertisement and promotion. This year’s championship game between Texas Tech and University of Virginia drew 19.6 million viewers (according to Nielsen), a 23% increase from last year’s game.

As far as advertising revenue, the tournament brought in an estimated $933 million to CBS and Turner (according to iSpot.tv). Of that total, $114 million (12%) was spent on ads during the championship game alone. Cost for 30 seconds of air time range around $1.4 million. Who were the biggest spenders?

  • AT&T Wireless – $68.0 million
  • Buick – $42.5 million
  • Geico – $36.4 million
  • Capital One – $31.6 million
  • Progressive – $27.9 million

These numbers are just for TV commercials. Now add in additional revenue for sponsorships, signage, events, and more!

How did your bracket do?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  2. Poll students: Who watched the NCAA men’s basketball games? How much did they watch? On what devices?
  3. What ads can they recall seeing?
  4. Show a highlight video of the final game: https://youtu.be/cm3OA8NRib4
  5. For the NCAA games, who is the target market? Is there a secondary target market?
  6. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for NCAA games. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  7. Based on the target market profile, what makes this event unique for these viewers and advertisers?

Source: Jerde, S. (9 April 2010). NCAA championship game averages 19.6 million viewers. Ad Week.

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