March Madness Earns A Billion In Ads, And Players Don’t Get Paid

Published On March 24, 2014 | By admin | College Sports, News, sports news

By Andrew Scot Bolsinger

March Madness is the financial champ, according to a report just released.

Kantar Media studied ad revenue for the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship compared to the respective playoffs and championship series for the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and National Hockey League. The study found that for the three weeks of the tourney in 2012, CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV collectively generated slightly more than $1 billion in tournament ad sales revenue.

The report said 2013 would be even larger in terms of gross earnings, which would top the other sports.

“Per Kantar estimates, the college hoops tourney just edged the aggregate ad spend in the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl ($976.3 million), while handily outearning the two-month NBA postseason ($536.9 million) and October baseball on TBS and Fox ($354.1 million). The 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs generated around $101.1 million in ad sales revenue,” Adweek reported.

The 2012 tourney was just the second year of the 14-year CBS-Turner collaboration that allowed the combined networks to broadcast all 67 March Madness games live. Ad spending has soared 64 percent from $614 million in 2010, the report states.

Last year, the price of a 30-second ad in the Sweet 16 jumped to as much as $350,000. The same commercial in the Final Four would cost double that, while the average unit cost for the national championship game was $1.34 million, Kantar reported.

“To put the value of the NCAA Championship Game in perspective, the cost of a spot in the 2012 AFC Championship Game on CBS and the NFC Championship Game on Fox was $1.46 million. That same year, NBC secured around $3.5 million for each 30-second increment of time in its Super Bowl XLVI broadcast,” Adweek reported.


Andrew Scot Bolsinger won more than two dozen press awards during his journalism career. He is a freelance writer, author and operates, which is focused on prison reform. He can reached at


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