Effectv: March Madness is a Slam Dunk for Advertisers

men's basketball players
(Image credit: Effectv)

In the runup to this year’s March Madness men’s college basketball championship, a new analysis of viewership trends during the 2022 tournament argues that past viewing trends indicate the games are likely to be a slam dunk for advertisers. 

In 2022, a majority of households got into the sports spirit, with 65% tuning into the games for an average of 9.25 hours per household, according to researchers at Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable.

Findings also reveal March Madness ads reach more than double the households per commercial compared to the average program, according to the study, which highlighted the opportunity advertisers have in reaching a broad, engaged audience.

These insights, collected from Comcast’s aggregated viewership data as well as third-party sources during March Madness 2022, reflect the importance of this event for advertisers, the researchers said. 

“The March Madness timeframe is small but mighty with its ability to reach wide audiences efficiently,” said Travis Flood, executive director of insights, Comcast Advertising. “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.”

The researchers also stressed that March Madness advertising is valuable in securing incremental viewership, as 50% of households reached by March Madness programming are uniquely incremental to the campaign. This means half of the audience reached with March Madness would not have otherwise been reached by the TV campaigns analyzed for 2022.

Other key highlights from the study include: 

  • March Madness ads reach nearly 2.5x more households per commercial than the average program.
  • Streaming viewership on networks airing March Madness increases 86% during the tournament (versus the prior period).
  • 67% (two in three) of businesses tune into games during the first and second rounds of the tournament.
  • 41% of March Madness viewing is done with another person.
  • Advertisers that include March Madness in their campaigns receive as much as 87% greater reach than those that do not.
  • March Madness advertising has the power to reach light TV viewing households – with this programming being 55% more likely to be viewed by this hard-to-reach audience.

“With March Madness, advertisers are reaching viewers who would not otherwise be seeing TV advertising,” added Flood. “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 full findings are available here (opens in new tab)

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.