Market Overview

March Madness' Top Corporate Seeds

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As March Madness fires up this week, office managers all over the country will on guard, to catch employees watching NCAA games or checking their brackets instead of doing their jobs.

Lost productivity at basketball tournament time could cost companies up to $1.2 billion, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas as reported by New Republic.

There is, however, another side to the sports hoopla -- the winning, corporate side. That brings into play companies that make money based on the fact that one-third of Americans said they planned to watch games at work according to a RetailMeNot survey. And one in five men, the same survey reported, said they would spend lunch at a bar watching games.

Another (MSN) survey revealed an astonishing 86 percent of workers planned to check brackets and game scores throughout the workday.

And these people are not just basketball fans. They are also consumers, something top corporate seed, Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF) knows all too well.

Capital One worked its way into that position by becoming a sponsor for every NCAA sport, including basketball and football. Other top corporate seeds this year include AT&T (NYSE: T) and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO).

Add in CBS (NYSE: CBS), which will broadcast 22 of the 67 tournament games, including the title game, Elite Eight, Sweet 16, and second and third round games, you have the likely corporate Final Four of March Madness advertising.

Some would argue that Time Warner’s (NYSE: TWX) Turner Broadcasting conglomerate, whose TBS, TNT, and truTV channels will air  47 games, also deserves a slot.

Related: The UPS Store® Helps Small Businesses Score During NCAA® March Madness®

Capital One’s game plan includes maximizing exposure during the tournament. As Capital One’s director of digital public relations campaigns, Chris O’Neill. told Fox Business, “We’ve upped our game each year.”

According to O’Neill, the company began its campaign with television and online ads featuring basketball analysts and former NBA stars Charles Barkley and Greg Anthony. Those videos ran this past weekend on Selection Sunday.

Capital One’s advertising full court press features ads on multiple fronts -- including TV, computers and mobile devices. In addition, O’Neill said, the company planned to “engage very heavily on the social front.” Capital One is the prime sponsor of the NCAA’s online bracket challenge.

Capital One, AT&T and Coca-Cola are not the only contenders. Hotels and restaurants in the 14 cities playing host to teams will also gain financially, even if that gain will not make national news. The RetailMeNot survey found that 28 percent of fans would spend $100 or more if their team made it to the Sweet 16.

As for the broadcasters, they are not exactly dark horses, either. MoneyMorning reported the surprising statistic, that advertising revenue from March Madness far exceeds revenue from football's highly-touted Super Bowl.

A 30-second spot during this year's Super Bowl cost $3.5 million and the 3.5 hour-long game generated $245 million in ad revenue. As impressive as that is, however, it pales in comparison to the $738 million in ad revenue CBS and the three Turner Networks took in during March Madness last year.

At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.

Posted-In: AT&T basketball Capital One FinancialNews Events Hot Media General Best of Benzinga

 

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