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‘March Madness’ nets major ad dollars

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New York—Telecasts of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, which gets under way next week, have become one of the marquee venues for advertisers, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

More than $2.2 billion was spent on network TV advertising during the tournament games from 2000-2005, TNS said. That compares with gross ad spending during the Super Bowl of $834 million and the World Series of $880 million during the same period.

Ad spending during this year’s NCAA tournament, which tips off March 16, is expected to be close to $500 million.

Last year, the 26 tournament games that CBS televised garnered three times as much ad revenue as the 300-plus regular season men’s college basketball games that were telecast on ABC, CBS, ESPN and ESPN2.

“Among major TV sports, college basketball is unusual,” said Jon Swallen, senior VP-research at TNS, in a news release. “Despite a regular season that stretches over three months and features at least one nationally telecast game almost every single day, a majority of the ad revenue is generated during the short post-season. By contrast, college and pro football see most of their national TV ad money during the regular season.”

—Matthew Schwartz

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