For the first time the National Basketball Association (NBA) is advertising during March Madness, in a move to attract college fans to the professional league.
NBA viewership pales in comparison to the NCAA tournaments. For instance, there was an average of 21.3 million TV viewers who watched the NCAA championship game last year, according to Nielsen’s 2014 Year in Sports Media Report. There were nearly six million less who watched the NBA final game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat. The report shows that an average of only 15.6 million watched the NBA playoffs games, and 18 million watched the final win by the Spurs.
The NBA is not trying to sit by idly and let this trend continue. Pam El, chief marketing officer at the NBA was quoted in USA Today as saying, “If you think about it, March is the best time of the year for basketball fans – period. Our goal is to grow our fan base — and one of the best places to look is to the college fan who already loves the game of basketball.”
According to USA Today, in 2014 advertisers spent $1.13 billion in March Madness-related TV advertising. Business Insider says that March Madness is the second most popular sports showcase next to the NFL playoffs, followed by the NBA and the Major League Baseball championships.
The NBA’s commercials are expected to air during the March Madness games which begin March 19.