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Why the NCAA is a marketing lay-up.


Quicken Loans, the lead sponsor in the “Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge,” hatched a brilliant marketing campaign. They garnered over 1 billion social media and PR impressions, according to Jay Farmer, president and chief marketing officer of Quicken Loans in USA Today.

March Madness represents the perfect placement for Quicken Loans, the largest online retail mortgage lender in the United States, because it targets a younger audience, many of whom are preparing to buy their first home.

Why wouldn’t a company align their product with the NCAA and its premiere tournament? According to Kantar Media, March Madness generates more TV ad revenue than any pro sports league’s postseason broadcasts. In 2013 the NCAA men’s basketball tournament earned $1.15 billion in ad revenue during pre-game, in-game and post-game programming.

And let’s not forget about TV ratings. 2013 saw an increase in tournament ratings for the first time since 2005. A combined 31,572,000 people watched the two Final Four games. Add in the record breaking attendance at last year’s National Championship game in the Georgia Dome and that’s another 74,326 who followed the “Madness.”

Whether in regard to basketball or football, the NCAA is a strong competitor when it comes to ad revenue. The BCS National Championship Game drew around 26 million viewers, and the new playoff system, which will take effect this upcoming season, has already named its first sponsor in the form of a doctor – OK, its Dr. Pepper – to the tune of $35 million. 

These college athletic events are also ruling social media. The BCS game from this past January generated over 4.4 million game-related tweets at a clip of over 85,000 tweets per minute.

After selection Sunday there were over 135,000 tweets posted in a 72-hour span. During last year’s tournament there were 7.7 million social media impressions. 

In today’s world it’s all about impressions, content and social media. Throw in a catchy campaign, with Warren Buffet’s cash backing a contest, and you have a recipe for success.

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