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NEW YORK: Banks may be falling like snowflakes, but the sector showed an avid interest in TV sports last year. The Nielsen reports that the banking industry spent more than $122 million on TV ads during sports programs last year, up 36 percent from 2007, and nearly 19 percent of the sectors overall spend on TV for the year.

A Nielsen Sports exec said the placement was logical, given that sports draws the biggest number of rich folk--those with households incomes of more than $125,000 a year.

Bank of America came in as the biggest spender in the sector. BoA more than doubled its sports-TV ad buys from $21 million in 2007 to $44 million in 2008. The expenditure accounted for nearly one-third of BIA’s total TV buys for the year. The ailing Royal Bank of Scotland was No. 2, spending $11 million, up 144 percent from 2007. Charles Schwab was next with $8.1 million, up 149 percent from the nearly $3.3 million it spent the year before.

JP Morgan and Wells Fargo were the next two biggest spenders on sports TV ads for 2008, but both dropped less money than in 2007. JP ponied $8 million, down 19 percent from $9.9 million in ’07; and Wells Fargo spent nearly $7.9 million, down 38 percent from $12.7 million the year before. – Deborah D. McAdams