Post-Covid March Madness Sees Viewership and Advertisers Return in Droves
By Dom Cecconi
The first quarter of the year provides the media industry with two gigantic sporting events – The Super Bowl and March Madness. While Super Bowl LVI fell just short of the record-breaking audience that was expected, it still saw a 16 million viewer bump compared to the 55th edition of the big game in 2021. Read Jabari Young’s February 15th CNBC article here.
March Madness proved to be no different, not only from a viewership perspective, but an advertising one, too. In fact, one week prior to the tournament’s first tip, CBS Sports reported that their linear and digital inventory were nearly sold out – the earliest this has been accomplished in recent tournament history. Read more from Dade Hayes here.
This level of investment was a significant gamble by advertisers due to the uncertainty that March Madness would garner pre-Covid viewership levels after two years of pandemic-interrupted tournaments. The gamble paid off. Not only did the 2022 Men’s NCAA Tournament break numerous viewership records, but so did the Women’s Tournament. Read more from Tom Tapp about the 2022 Tournament here.