March Madness Sees 22% Ad Gain, Steady Viewing

The NCAA March Madness mens' college basketball tournament has seen strong double-digit percentage national TV advertising gains, according to an estimate, as the initial five days of viewership maintain the levels of a year ago.

Eight days of the tournament -- through the Sweet Sixteen round (March 15-March 23) -- has seen an estimated 22% increase in advertising revenues to $457.7 million in national TV advertising on four networks, according to

The data includes national linear TV, national time-shifted, local, video-on-demand (VOD) and OTT.

Nielsen viewing data shows that for the first two days of the tournament -- Thursday and Friday --  the men's college basketball Tournament posted its best result ever for all games on CBS, TNT, TBS, and truTV -- 9.2 million, with Thursday games at 8.4 million and Friday's games at 9.3 million.



The first five days of the event (March 15-19) scored a Nielsen average 9.04 million average viewership -- a virtual tie with a year ago, when it was 9.12 million over the same time period.

Top-paying advertisers this year so far include AT&T Wireless ($27.5); Progressive Insurance ($14.7 million); Geico ($15.2 million); Capital One ($13.6 million); and Buick ($13.5 million) Some 5,032 mostly national and regional airings.

A year ago for the similar time period, national TV ad spend was at $373.8 million.

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