NCAA Tourney Ads "Virtually Sold Out;" 30-Second Title Game Spot Approaching $1.6M
CBS and Turner Sports “already seem poised for another substantial revenue victory” around the NCAA Tournament, according to Anthony Crupi of ADWEEK. Sources said that all 67 games tournament games “are virtually sold out across CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV.” All told, “more than” 95% of the available in-game inventory has been claimed by marketers, making this year’s event “even tighter” than last year. For “all intent and purposes,” the Final Four and National Championship games are sold out, with a 30-second ad in the title game costing as much as $1.6M, up 10% from last year's going rate of $1.45M. While the networks "did not comment on pricing, sources said that first- and second-round games are fetching around $250,000 per spot, with costs escalating as the tournament progresses.” On average, a 30-second spot during the Final Four costs as much as $1.1M. Auto, financial services and telecom “have accounted for the lion's share of commitments, followed by QSR and tech/consumer electronics.” Early ratings are “looking promising,” but the “lack of a consensus favorite could impact ratings in the later rounds.” Media buyer Starcom Worldwide Senior VP & Dir Sam Sussman said, “Our projection for this year is that ratings will be down slightly … although there's always some unpredictability in sports. But even if ratings are down, we’re still looking at a property that will be up versus the last year CBS went it alone (2010)" (ADWEEK.com, 3/21).
GOING OVERTIME: Buffalo Wild Wings President & CEO Sally Smith apeared on CNBC on Thursday and said “March Madness by far is the biggest time in our restaurant,” while Super Bowl Sunday remains the “biggest day.” Smith said sales have “more to do with how competitive the games are and how close they stay.” CNBC's Scott Wapner said, “A bunch of Cinderellas in the Final Four can’t be that great for business. You want as many people watching the most hotly contested and anticipated games that you can get to drive business, right?” Smith: “We absolutely do … (but) sometimes with Cinderella teams it’s fun to see what’s going to happen. But a close game is really as important as who's playing for us” (“Squawk on the Street,” CNBC, 3/21).