March Madness Drew $1.285B in Ad Revenue: Kantar Media

With the 2018 edition of March Madness about to start, Kantar Media said that last year’s men’s college basketball tournament generated $1.285 billion in ad revenue.

The 3.3% increase is roughly consistent with the rights fees increase being paid by CBS and Turner, according to Kantar.

Kantar said that 97 advertisers sponsored the tournament in 2017, up from 95 the prior year. The top advertisers included General Motors, AT&T, Capital One, Berkshire Hathaway, Samsung, Nissan, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Apple and Yum Brands.

Related: CBS, Turner Ready to March

Kantar noted that the college basketball tournament trails only the NFL in post-season ad revenue. In 2017, NFL playoff games, including the Super Bowl, drew $1.547 billion, up 9.7%. The NBA playoffs drew $934 million, up 11.7%, MLB brought in $569 million, up 9.8% and the college football bowl game raked in $399 million, up 8.8%.

Ashwin Navin, CEO of research company Samba TV is expecting viewing of March Madness to go up.

“We expect a meaningful increase in viewership and applaud the innovations the networks have made both in broadening platform support and in introducing new data centric advertising models. All of this helps us move beyond the legacy measurement methodology which is destroying the industry,” said Navin.

Related: NCAA March Madness to Reach 16 Platforms

“Additional streaming options are impactful for events like March Madness where viewership can occur throughout the day, and there's not always access to the television broadcast,” he said. “Since viewers can access games across all screens we can anticipate live-streaming to increase for NCAA especially during the early rounds. More streaming engagement means that true NCAA viewership measurement must be accounted for across all screens, with the same points applying to TV/Digital advertising during the tournament.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.