March Madness Ad Sales to Jump by Double-Digits: Bogusz

CBS Vet: Pricing, Volume Up From 2014; Streaming Sold Out
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New York -- Although units remain available, pricing and volume have increased to the point where the upcoming version of March Madness should net a double-digit advance in revenue.

John Bogusz, executive vice president, sports sales and marketing at CBS, said the team at the broadcaster and partner Turner Broadcasting System are in a good place ahead of the tipoff of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship across four national television networks – TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV – and NCAA March Madness Live. 

Bogusz, in an interview here at NCAA Media Day, said the tourney is in a better position than at this stage in 2014. “We’re looking at a double-digit increase in revenue over last year” on the linear side, he said, while noting that streaming NCAA March Madness Live platform is sold out.

The veteran pegged price increases in “the mid-single digits and there has been more volume.”  

Last year, Kantar Media estimated that March Madness produced $1.13 billion from Madison Avenue, up 1.5% from the prior year.

When asked if “Kentucky premium” units were being held in reserve in case John Calipari’s 31-0 Wildcats (pictured) continue what could be men’s college basketball’s first undefeated season since Bobby Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers in 1975-76, Bogusz laughed. “We certainly want Kentucky to go far, but no, we are not holding units back for that,” he said, adding that inventory is still available throughout the event.

Bogusz said the tournament’s sales strength comes from the foundation of NCAA corporate champions and partners, which, with the addition of Microsoft’s Bing, now totals 18. All of these marketers  -- CBS and Turner own the NCAA’s marketing rights and sell sponsorships -- have schedules in the tournament and account for some 40% of inventory overall.

On top of this base, Bogusz said the marketplace has yielded a number of deals in the automotive, telecom and fast food categories. Without specifying, he also noted that all of the telecasts' enhancements/feature positions have been sold out.

According to Kantar Media, 30-second spots in last year's title tilt reached $1.49 million, up from $1.42 million in 2013.

Have commercials crossed the $1.5 million threshold for the national championship game from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis that will air on CBS on April 6?

“It’s a good number,” Bogusz smiled.

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