Let’s Dance

BY Rose Durbin IN Advertising

While the NCAA men’s basketball tournament action is just revving up, media mavens and moguls have negotiated one of the biggest media buys in national sports.

This year’s advertising spend is expected to top $1.6 billion. Kantar Media ranks the NCAA men’s basketball tournament second in advertiser sports spending, surpassed only by the NFL playoffs. That means the NCAA tourney sparks more advertising dollars than the NBA playoffs and the MLB pennant races.

While the Super Bowl single-day advertising blowout does catch a huge number of eyeballs, the 67 games played over three weeks of NCAA competition allow close to 100 advertisers to advance brand messaging across all screens.

The Playing Zone
Advertisers can buy TV commercials on the national level, at the DMA market level, and even at the local cable zone level. Brands like AT&T and Nationwide can reach consumers with content across the map with a national TV buy, or advertisers can use local cable in Fort Branch, Ind., to promote the brand at the store level.

Advertisers create fully integrated programs to reach avid sports fans and once-a-year bracketeers over the tournament run. Licensed NCAA marketing partners have the opportunity for branded product placements, event sponsorships and cross-channel promotions.

Buzzer Beater
If the 2016 advertiser roster is anything like 2015, you can expect to see automobile makers, restaurants, and telecommunications and insurance providers dominating the screens.

All NCAA licensing partnerships have formal levels of paid media exposure, but large- and small-budget brands will take advantage of social media engagement on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. As the brackets fill and the competition narrows, expect to see social media activating fans and advertisers.

CBS Sports and Turner Sports have been broadcasting together since 2011, sharing games, production staff and on-air talent. CBS and Turner will provide live coverage of all games across four national networks: CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.

Where Will You Find the Dance?
You will need a guide to find your important game on the big screen. And by the way, they are all important games. Check out the NCAA schedule.
If you have at least one digital screen, there are few valid excuses for not viewing the action. You can watch the games live by going to

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