March Madness Grows 5% In National TV Ad Dollars, Ratings Down

Although an early reading of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament championship game ratings posted low results, the entire tournament still brings strong earnings in national TV advertising 

The three-week event airing on CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV pulled in $1 billion, according to -- 5.4% higher than a year ago, when it totaled $948.2 million.

In preliminary Nielsen results, the championship game on Turner’s TBS TNT, and truTV network pulled in 16.5 million viewers -- down 28% from CBS’ airing of the game a year ago, which pulled in 23 million.

SQAD, the media cost and analysis researcher, says that for the NCAA championship game the average cost for a 30-second commercial simulcast on Turner's three networks ranged between $1,427,120 and $1,712,231. This is a 3% jump from last year's final game, which ranged between $1,387,933 and $1,660,956.



This year, says 142 brands ran 391 ads 6,761 times. A year ago, 231 brands placed 547 ads, airing 8,427 times. Last year, five networks aired the games (including CBS Sports Network) versus four this year.

The top five TV advertisers this year for the entire tournament included: Capital One (188 commercial airings, spending an estimated $40.8 million); Buick (144 airings, $38.3 million); AT&T Wireless (157, $31.6 million); Samsung Mobile (150, $31.1 million); and DirecTV (145, $30.7 million).

A year ago some of the same names were atop the list: AT&T Wireless (236 commercial airings, $38.0 million); Buick (128, $35.4 million); Coca-Cola (209, $35.3 million); Capital One (173, $34.7 million); and Samsung Mobile (137, $30.2 million).

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