Historical Advertising Data Showcases Biggest Spenders, Ad Revenue and Comparisons Against Other TV Sports Franchises
New York, NY, March 01, 2011 – When the field for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship is announced on March 13, it will mark the beginning of the three-week event known as “March Madness”. This year’s tournament will be the biggest ever in several notable ways. The number of teams has been expanded from 65 to 68, creating three additional games. Under a new 14-year, $10.8 billion TV rights agreement that was negotiated last spring, CBS and Turner Broadcasting are partnering to show every tournament game live and will spread the telecasts across four national TV networks – CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. As in past years, all of the games will be streamed online, providing advertisers with additional opportunities to reach fans and to build integrated, cross-platform marketing programs.
An analysis of trend data by Kantar Media shows how the tournament has evolved over the past decade to become one of the largest and most valuable franchises in all of television sports.
TV Ad Revenue
Over the past ten years (2001-2010), national TV advertising during the men’s tournament has translated into over $4.8 billion of spending from more than 280 different marketers. Ad revenue in 2010 was $613.8 million, up 4.3 percent from the prior year but still below the all-time high achieved in 2008.
Digital Ad Revenue Is Growing
In 2011, “March Madness On Demand” will again be available as a free online video player that provides live, on demand streams of all tournament games. The ad-supported webcasts offer presenting sponsors another platform for getting their commercial messages in front of viewers.
Though growing rapidly from a small base, digital ad revenue is still a fraction of that generated by the traditional TV broadcasts.
Online viewership has traditionally been strong during the early rounds of the tournament, driven by the combination of at-work viewership, multiple games occurring simultaneously and a regional broadcasting model that prevented fans from watching games not being telecast by the local CBS affiliate. For 2011, viewers will not be confronted with the latter predicament because all games will be aired nationwide. It remains to be seen whether this cuts into online viewing.
The #2 Franchise in Post-Season TV Sports
The NCAA men’s basketball tournament has grown into the second most lucrative post-season sports franchise as measured by national TV ad revenue. It consistently brings in more money than the post-season playoffs for Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association or college football. Only the National Football League playoffs, which include the Super Bowl, bring in more ad spending.
The Price of Advertising
The price of a TV spot rises during the tournament and peaks with the championship game. The average cost any individual advertiser pays is strongly affected by how deep into the Tournament their package extends and the mix of less expensive air time in opening rounds versus pricier spots in later rounds.
In 2010, the average cost of a :30 unit in the championship game was a bit more than $1.2 million. Pricing has held steady around this mark from 2007 – 2010.
To put this pricing in context, it is comparable to the AFC/NFC pro football championships and the BCS college football championship. It exceeds the NBA championship series and the MLB World Series.
In a typical year, 80 to 100 different marketers purchase TV ad time during the tournament. However, a small number of advertisers enjoy dominant positions and the top ten spenders consistently account for over 40 percent of the money. Many of the companies in this upper tier have corporate sponsorship deals with the NCAA which give them additional opportunities to build marketing programs around the men’s basketball tournament and other NCAA sports.
In 2010, the top ten advertisers spent a total of $249.8 million to pitch their messages at viewers.
Top Ad Categories
The leading ad categories in the tournament are a reflection of the Top Advertisers list, since many of those elite companies have sponsorship deals that limit access by their main rivals. The top five categories in 2010 invested $351.3 million and accounted for more than 57 percent of the total TV ad revenue.
About Kantar Media
Established in more than 50 countries, Kantar Media helps clients master the world’s multimedia momentum through analysis of print, radio, TV, internet, cinema, mobile, social media, and outdoor worldwide. Kantar Media offers a full range of media insights and audience measurement services through its global business sectors – Intelligence, Audiences, TGI and Custom. Kantar Media companies also include Compete, Cymfony and SRDS. Drawing upon the deepest expertise in the industry, Kantar Media tracks more than 3 million brands and delivers insight to more than 22,000 customers worldwide. www.KantarMediaNA.com