CBS Sports and Turner Sports could bring in more than $1 billion in advertisement for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Just one year ago, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) March Madness men’s basketball tournament was canceled due to Covid-19, costing the NCAA in terms of both media rights revenue and ticket sales. The NCAA says it had insurance for the 2019 tournament that paid out $270 million to absorb the blow. It has the same insurance in place for 2021.
It’s very unlikely the NCAA will postpone the 2021 tournament, which starts Thursday, despite outbreaks that have prevented top teams, including Duke, from competing in conference play. Teams are now set to spend up to four weeks in a self-enforced bubble in Indianapolis, the site of the tournament.
CBS and Turner Sports will once again collaborate for coverage of the event. “It’s an event that is foundational to CBS Sports,” CBS president Sean McManus said last week. “This year it’s going to be more challenging than ever to produce.”
MediaRadar, an advertising data firm, estimates the 2019 NCAA March Madness tournament generated $1.18 billion in television ad spend for CBS and Turner Sports with the networks paying just over $800 million for the current rights package.