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ADVERTISERS LOOK FOR SLAM DUNK WITH NCAA MARCH MADNESS
Published March 21, 1996
CNN's "Moneyline" examined the NCAA men's basketball tournament -- a "blue chip event" for advertisers -- and noted when it comes to commercials during the games, the "best pitchmen are often on the sidelines." Steiner Sports Marketing President Brandon Steiner said a lot of the coaches "have great personalities, they're fun and they have tremendous longevity at these universities." The piece featured two spots: the Taco Bell ad starring Bobby Knight, Rick Pitino, and John Thompson; and a Degree ad with John Calipari, Tubby Smith, and Jim Harrick. DDB Needham Worldwide Account Supervisor Tracy Zirin: "John Calipari said that people stop him on the street and yell, 'Hey, coach, you got your Degree on?' ... So we know it's having some impact out there in the marketplace." CNN noted advertisers are paying up to $600,000 for a 30-second spot in this year's finals and that, overall, network profitability is a "slam dunk" ("Moneyline," CNN, 3/20). HOOPS MADNESS: In the academic year from July '94-June '95, UConn men's and women's basketball licensed products generated $12M in retail sales (Patricia Seremet, HARTFORD COURANT, 3/21). UMass officials want to add 14 luxury boxes to the Mullin Center and add $8,000 signs to the front of the press table. UMass currently generates $323,637 from its 17 sponsors. UConn, which plays in the "more lucrative" Big East, has seen sponsorship revenue rise from $250,000 to $3M since '89 (David Halbfinger, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/21).