ARE COMPANIES GETTING THE BEST DEMOS IN NCAA ADVERTISING?
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).