March Madness Scores Big for Advertisers: Effectv Study

March Madness 2022 Final
Kansas vs. North Carolina in last year’s NCAA national championship game. (Image credit: Getty Images)

March Madness, a big, live sports event on linear TV, still delivers big time for advertisers, according to a new study from Effectv, the advertising sales arm of Comcast Cable.

According to the stat sheet put together by Effectv, advertisers that include the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament in their campaigns receive as much as 87% greater reach than those that do no. Commercials airing during coverage on CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV are 55% more likely to be seen in light TV-viewing households.

“The March Madness timeframe is small but mighty, with its ability to reach wide audiences efficiently,” Travis Flood, executive director of insights at Comcast Advertising, said. “The engaged, live environment captivates viewers and encourages them to gather around the big screen — even those who don’t typically consume TV. Given the fragmentation in TV viewing today, this is an incredibly powerful tool for advertisers.”

Households watch an average of 9.25 hours of hoops over the course of the tournament, and March Madness ads reach nearly 2.5 times more households per commercial than the average program. 

Also: Measurement March Madness Produces Fresh NCAA Viewing Stats

Streaming on networks airing March Madness increased 86% during the tournament, and even businesses tuned in. According to the study, 67% of businesses tune into games during the first and second rounds.

“With March Madness, advertisers are reaching viewers who would not otherwise be seeing TV advertising,” Flood added. “Incremental reach is on everyone’s mind in 2023, and this event provides an opportunity to reach audiences more than twice as efficiently as an average ad. This is an opportunity that can benefit advertisers of all sizes.”

The study is based on Comcast’s aggregated viewership data, plus third-party sources, during the 2022 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.