March Madness means mad marketing

Cutting the net after a March Madness victory

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: March Madness gets into full swing today with CBS televising the first round of games. You know, 64 teams, dozens of games, millions of fans, and of course, hours and hours of coverage. With the down economy, you might think that marketers would stay on the bench. Not so much, as Marketplace's Caitlan Carroll explains.


Sports announcer: Rebound Arthur. Kansas can taste it.

Caitlan Carroll: Twenty million fans tuned in last year for the NCAA's championship game. But overall, March Madness has been losing television viewers. And this year isn't expected to be any different. Even so, advertisers are crowding the court.

Walt Guarino teaches advertising at Seton Hall University. He says March Madness is still one of the best ways to reach young, well-educated men in big numbers.

Walt Guarino: The audience is basically not only mostly male -- slightly above average in income.

So Lowes, Coca-Cola and Nike are buying in. And there's beer.

Guarino: Of course, there's a thing called the brewskies.

Foreign automakers and tech companies are stepping up their ad buys as banks and American car makers bail out.
Also, lots of advertisers will be pitching their products online.

Tech analyst Josh Martin says the Web is a good place to find a captive audience, especially during work hours.

Josh Martin: There's something to be said for having an active user that is waiting for the game to come back on that can't skip the commercials.

And can't bear to miss a free throw.

In Los Angeles, I'm Caitlan Carroll for Marketplace.

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