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Mobile gets in on March Madness

Over the last 10 years, March Madness has brought in over $5 billion in television advertising revenue. It is the second most watched set of games behind the NFL Playoffs, thereby making the ad spots the second most expensive spots in sports. A trend that marketers are capitalizing on is the “second-screen option”, which fans use to watch the games on their mobile devices either while at home or away. Mobile offers fans with 24/7 access to the tournament with live streaming of the games and highlights.

During the 2012 NCAA tournament, 69% of consumers used their mobile devices to watch the tournament, while also viewing it on television. While most fans were checking scores of other games, they also searched for information on players and teams, checked the outcome of the brackets, and viewed highlights from the games.

The top television advertisers during last year’s tournament – automobile manufacturers, restaurants, CPG food/drink brands, and telecommunications – are making their way into mobile marketing in 2013. The NCAA has a LIVE app called NCAA March Madness that is available for Apple and Android devices where sports fans can follow each team’s progress in the tournament. Co-presenting advertisers involved in the NCAA March Madness Live app include AT&T, Buick, Capital One, Coca-Cola’s Coke Zero, Infiniti and LG Electronics USA. Buick, Capital One and Coke Zero are sponsoring the iOS app. While AT&T, Infiniti and LG Electronics USA are sponsoring the Android version. ESPN has updated their ESPN Bracket Bound app to allow fans to customize their content to follow their favorite teams. The app also contains video analysis, game information and SMS alerts that send fans real-time information on game stats and breaking news.

Brands are going mobile with sponsorships, banner ads, content creation, while some are creating their own brackets with branded content on sites and apps. Taco Bell is utilizing banner ads to promote its new Doritos Cool Ranch tacos, while Acura is featuring its 2014 RLX sedan. Coca-Cola’s Coke Zero is sponsoring the social media feed section on the NCAA March Madness Live app. Other brands are using Instagram, Vine and Pinterest to create original content promoting their products.

Mobile provides the opportunity for fans (or in our case, consumers) to stay plugged into the games and our brands. While they are viewing scores and highlights, mobile advertising gives brands the opportunity to reach their consumers and remind them of their products and/or services that they can use during March Madness. If mobile is not in your plan for this year’s games, make sure you are ready for the 2014 games!

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