SBJ/20101115/This Week's Issue

More national feeds create new option for NCAA advertisers

Advertisers in the NCAA tournament will be able to buy one unit that stretches across four nationally televised games in a specific time window, based on the sales approach Turner Sports and CBS have taken to the marketplace.

Will Funk, Turner’s senior vice president of NCAA partnerships and branded programming, said the tournament’s cumulative ratings are expected to increase based on the broader distribution, especially in the early rounds.

CBS used to televise all of the NCAA tournament games on its own, which meant that most games in the first three rounds were distributed regionally. Now that CBS is teaming with Turner’s TBS, TNT and truTV channels, every tournament game will be televised nationally.

“You’d like to think the numbers will go up with the added reach of the games, and that would be a positive thing for the advertisers,” said Jeremy Carey, director and media buyer at Optimum Sports.

While Turner and CBS did not discuss specific pricing, “it will be commensurate with the estimated rating” for all four games in a window, Funk said.

“Ultimately, the ratings for all four networks will be added together in that time period and that’s the number that is being guaranteed to advertisers,” said Chris Simko, senior vice president of sales for CBS Sports.

The new start times have not been made final, but the current proposal has the early window of the first week’s Thursday and Friday games tipping at noon, 12:30, 1:30 and 2 p.m., spreading them out naturally with the geography of the tournament.

When CBS solely owned the NCAA’s rights, games were broadcast regionally in the early rounds and tipoffs were staggered from 12:20 to 12:30 p.m.

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