As March Madness approaches so does a new agreement; CBS will no longer be the only network covering the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. CBS partnered with TBS, TNT and TruTV to broadcast all games, to all viewers, start to finish. This is huge news not only for sport’s fans, but for advertisers as well.
This new partnership between CBS and Turner caused TV and digital inventory to sell out much sooner than previous years, says John Bogusz, exec VP-Sales and marketing at CBS Sports (AdAge), despite that the games are now airing on 4 channels rather than one. This allows advertisers to buy on multiple channels, but will be more challenging in estimating the ratings. Since this March Madness is a new experience for advertisers buying commercial time, it will be interesting to see how ads perform and if ratings deliver.
This is not the only change in the way sports fans view games, or collect information. Not only will viewers be able to watch the games on one of the broadcast/cable channels, sport fans will be able to stream free online, on the iPad and iPhone. Last year CBS Sports offered this, but viewers had to pay for the service. You might ask why is CBS willing to give away such a hot commodity at no charge? According to MediaMemo, it is a chance to attract more viewers since the tournament occurs during weekday work hours, “and giving people the opportunity to stream games to their PCs isn’t a channel conflict, it is a chance to collect more eyeballs”.
So, now that fans have multiple ways of seeing each and every game, how will you keep up with your brackets for March Madness 2011?