The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament has been an evolving project since its inception in 1939 with 8 teams.  Currently, with 68 teams, March Madness is truly what its name implies, with a new format that allows multiple viewing channels and marketing opportunities.  Through iPads, iPhones, Windows devices and many other outlets, March Madness Live will provide streaming availability for every NCAA tournament game which equates to over 150 hours of live basketball.  From a corporate perspective, this can be viewed as a dream or a nightmare.  Businesses could lose productivity in a fashion that could cost a company as much as $1.2 billion.  On the flipside, corporations such as Capital One Financial, use these viewers to their advantage and create a buzz through advertising, thus making them one of our number one corporate seeds.


march madness live

Capital One is a sponsor for every NCAA sport, and their Twitter account truly lets you see that with a tagline saying “Capital One is an Official Corporate Champion of NCAA®”.  Like AT&T and Coca-Cola, Capital One understands 86% of workers check brackets during the work-day, and are marketing to them through March Madness Live along with social media with tweets.  The following tweet is an example:

New to the madness this year is Coke Zero’s March Madness Social Arena, which allows fans a way to follow games from a different perspective. The Arena allows for users to view various in-game tweets, photos from Instagram, Vine videos and live chats that allow fans to feel as if they are one of the experts while using the #marchmadness hashtag.  In a year where experts say “Twitter will be on fire for the tournament,” there is no better time to allow customers to become engaged in modern technology and also create marketing in a way businesses know will be worthwhile.  These are just some of the steps in which lead to the tournament generating more than $1.15 billion in advertising revenue last year and experts see no forthcoming peak in the future.

coke zero

Much like the Olympics, the NCAA Tournament is an event where businesses understand they have a few weeks to reach their customers and try to hit the channels hard.  This year, the use of celebrities seems to be a big hit with Burger King taking in former NBA All Star Chris Webber, Papa John’s with sportscaster Jim Nantz, Audi with comedian Ricky Gervais as well as individuals such as Dick Vitale who always use numerous partnerships well on Twitter.  From Hooters to Allstate, Dickie V is one of America’s busiest 74 year olds who loves the game of basketball.  Recently, Vitale battled “Joel the Longhorn” in a March Madness picking event sponsored by Allstate, and Vitale’s tweet shows it all, while helping Allstate marketing during this time of madness.

With over 150 hours of live basketball action available in numerous ways over a 3 week span, marketing and technology outlets alike know the opportunity before them.  Ad revenue grows year after year for this event, and with March Madness Live expanding the viewing options, this number will only be assisted even more in a way no point guard could imagine.  Be sure to be a part of the mayhem, tune in to the March Madness action, whether on a tablet, PC or television to cheer for your favorite team or America’s Cinderella as this is always one of the best times of the year.

-Brad Gaither