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ARE COMPANIES GETTING THE BEST DEMOS IN NCAA ADVERTISING?
Published March 26, 1999
Advertising around the NCAA men's basketball tournament and this weekend's Final Four is reviewed by Matthew Kauffman of the HARTFORD COURANT, who writes under the header, "Hoop Ads Becoming More Refined." Kauffman writes that in "recent years, the NCAA basketball tournament has" been an outlet for such high-end advertisers as "mutual funds, insurance policies and even Mercedes-Benz." First Union spokesperson Sandy Deem, whose company is "running big-production ads" during the tournament: "If you look at the crowd that watches college basketball, they are college- educated people." IN-based insurance company Conseco will spend a "vast majority" of its $30M ad budget by putting "a commercial on every game" during the tournament. Conseco spokesperson Jim Rosensteele: "There's nothing like the NCAA tournament to really build exposure with the audience we're targeting" (HARTFORD COURANT, 3/26). In Tampa, Eric Miller writes that the revenues from the NCAA Tournament will allow the NCAA to distribute more than $140M to its 300-plus Division I schools. The NCAA will gross an "estimated" $3.7M from ticket sales for the Final Four and $14.5M in gate receipts from the regional games (Eric Miller, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 3/26). In Chicago, Ed Sherman writes that the NCAA "has resisted CBS' pleas to move the reporters back" off the floor, since courtside seats "will be empty" for the start of the second game because reporters will be filing their stories (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/26). STATE OF THE LOGISTICS: In St. Pete, Brian Landman writes that NCAA Exec Dir Cedric Dempsey "expected at least 50 reporters" for his state-of-the-NCAA news conference yesterday at Tropicana Field, but "was surprised" by the turnout of "about a dozen." Dempsey: "I'm wondering if the attendance reflects the difficulty of getting around logistically. It's a different site" (ST. PETE TIMES, 3/26). In DC, Pete Williams writes that one of the "potential problems" is lack of lodging, meaning two teams, fans and reporters are staying in Tampa, a 35-minute drive from St. Pete (WASHINGTON POST, 3/26). In St. Pete, Minai & Rogers write that "with few exceptions," the NCAA's "extensive shuttle system for dignitaries, coaches and media" was "working smoothly" (ST. PETE TIMES, 3/26). THE WOMEN ARE PLAYING, TOO! CBS analyst Billy Packer, on coverage of the NCAA women's basketball tournament: "If I'm the women, I'm upset at ESPN. They play games at midnight, and SportsCenter doesn't start with the women's tournament. ... They (NCAA women) should get a network that's going to be better at promoting their games." But ESPN spokesperson Mike Soltys said that by moving the women's semi-finals to Friday, ESPN gives the games "much more coverage than when they were on CBS, which was concentrating on the men" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 3/26). ESPN Senior VP/Programming Len DeLuca, on the net expanding its coverage from 22 women's games last year to 27 this year: "Finding time slots for all those games is not easy." DeLuca added that preempting "SportsCenter" to allow for earlier start times "is not an option." More DeLuca: "CBS doesn't preempt '60 Minutes'" (Larry Stewart, L.A. TIMES, 3/26). In San Jose, Mark Purdy writes that ESPN's ratings for this year's NCAA women's tournament are up 22% over last year, while CBS' ratings for the men's tournament are down 4%. DeLuca calls the women's tournament "a growth agent," which Purdy writes is "a code phrase for, 'We think we can use it to sell a lot more applesauce'" (MERCURY NEWS, 3/26).