The ‘Madness’ is Back: How Local Businesses Can Advertise Around One of The Year’s Biggest Sporting Events

02.08.2024 Sara Brasfield5 min

With the arrival of March, the passion of college basketball enthusiasts ramps up. This is the season when brackets are completed, wagers are made, and college basketball is in the spotlight for fans and advertisers alike. Together, the men’s and women’s tournaments comprise 136 teams and 134 games in total. Throughout the journey to championship victory, expect numerous buzzer-beaters, surprises, and inspiring “Cinderella stories”. That’s great news for businesses advertising in March Madness and aligning their brand with one of the most exciting months in sports.

With passionate fans across both the men’s and women’s NCAA brackets, advertisers have an opportunity to reach engaged audiences through cable TV broadcasts, streaming, and other digital options. Here’s a look at three ways local businesses can take advantage of this opportunity and achieve their “one shining moment” this March.

1. Take a Multiscreen Approach as Second (and Third) Screen Usage Tips Off

Perhaps no televised sporting event prompts second-screen activity as much as March Madness. Part of this trend is practical in nature: With so many games going on at once, many viewers will set different TVs and devices to different games, allowing them to track multiple events at the same time.

At the same time, the NCAA itself has invested into this second-screen experience through the creation of its March Madness Live app, where users can stream live video, access on-demand content, and receive personalized notifications and recommendations to guide their viewing experience. These content engagement options exist on top of established second-screen experiences like social media, where fans can engage with one another and access supplementary content and commentary during the game.

With such diverse advertising options available, local businesses have more flexibility in choosing, where, how, and when to engage their target audience—and how to maximize their ROI, as well.

2. Lean into the Opportunity of Reaching Female Viewers

Female sports fans are more engaged than ever, and with powerhouse teams like LSU and South Carolina along with shining stars like Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, the viewership for the women’s side of the brackets are on track for record-breaking viewership.

As you consider advertising in March Madness, factor in the 67 NCAA women’s games and the opportunity to reach female audiences.

3. Use Social Media to Insert Your Brand into the Conversation

Live events are a wellspring for content and audience interaction that happens off-the-cuff, based on the unfolding of those events. Social media is the epicenter of this online engagement: Game-winning shots, controversial calls, and underdog stories are just a few of the storylines that create buzz around March Madness—and this buzz can help your business leverage more organic reach through your social platforms.

Creative commentary, fun social contests, and other types of social engagement can increase your visibility during this peak digital event, and even help your business even viral exposure if your commentary strikes a positive nerve with your target audience.

Successful advertising in March Madness requires a carefully constructed strategic plan to maximize your spending and engagement across many different channels at once. Make the most of this opportunity by developing this strategy with the help of a trusted advertising partner—contact us today to learn more.

About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is a Marketing Manager on Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than nine years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the office, Sara loves spending time running, reading, and supporting her favorite sports teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

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