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ESPN announced this week that the Women’s March Madness tournament in-game advertisement slots have sold out, per Amanda Christovich of Front Office Sports. Theresa Palmieri, VP of Disney Advertising Sports Brand Solutions, stated that advertisers had “flocked to these offerings.” ESPN secured 15 broadcast sponsors and nearly 100 advertisers for this year’s women’s March Madness tournament, such as Aflac and Underarmour. However, some advertisers did not rest on “in-game” opportunities and shifted their attention to purchasing the pregame show slots for the Final Four and championship games, such as Capital One.
In addition, AT&T will produce the Final Four Mega Cast with Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi for another year. From the growing advertising attention, it is fair to say that Women’s college basketball as a product is growing in value. It is also essential to remember that media negotiations regarding the women’s tournament and additional NCAA Championship products are set to take place. The current media rights deal is valued at $34 million. Further, it is estimated that the media rights of the women’s tournament could reach over $100 million in 2025 alone.
On the other hand, the men’s March Madness tournament surpassed last year’s ad sales numbers. According to Warner Brothers Discovery Sports executive VP of Sales Jon Diament “Collectively, the two TV partners (CBS Sports & WBD) have “significantly” surpassed last year’s record haul of $1 billion in ad sales for the men’s NCAA tournament.” The common thread between the men’s and the women’s tournaments is the ability for players to participate in name, image, and likeness deals during the tournament. As a result, more brands will flock to college athletes because each game is a billboard for their products and services. In turn, the value of both tournaments will increase.