March Madness Ad Spend

For so many of us, March Madness is a yearly ritual: brackets, betting, beer and burgers. And now, the Final Four is just around the corner.

I was curious how much money was spent on advertising during March Madness, but I never would have anticipated what I uncovered. When I think of big-time sports advertising, the Superbowl is what immediately comes to mind. The game is punctuated by event-specific advertising that gets everyone pumped to see the new creative ads and messages. In 2015, Superbowl advertising spend was about $359 million.

capitolone-adBut to top that, television advertisers spend more than $1 billion on March Madness. And Americans spend almost as much gambling just on the Final Four than they to go to the movies in one year.

So it should be no surprise that March Madness is one of the biggest months for marketing opportunities spanning a range of industries: apparel, automotive, financial, food and higher education, to name a few. Because of this, the tournament provides one of the greatest social media marketing opportunities for companies. The NCAA Tournament has grossed a record 166 million total social impressions across Facebook and Twitter and 88% of people use their mobile devices to access March Madness information. The investment on return can be seen in the average game viewership: 9.9 million total viewers. The Kentucky/Notre Dame game peaked with 19.7 million viewers.

Much like Superbowl ads, there are those that are inspirational, sappy, nostalgic and funny. My favorite are the ones that feature past players. If you haven’t seen the CapitolOne ad series, it features Charles Barkley on a road trip with Spike Lee and Samuel L. Jackson. Hysterical!

So, as you watch Kentucky/Wisconsin and Michigan State/Duke this weekend, which ads stand out to you? Are they effective or do they miss the mark? Are they entertaining or informative? Share your favorite Final Four ad moments with us on Twitter @hb_agency. We’ll be sharing, too!

Amanda Jayachandran

About Amanda Jayachandran

Amanda creates unique strategies to help tell her clients’ stories. Her passion for design earned more than 35 design awards across branding and identity campaigns, direct marketing and demand generation, websites and event support. She consistently exceeds industry standard returns in interactive and print campaigns.

Learn more about Amanda

Speak Your Mind

*