CBS and ESPN’s broadcasts of this year’s men’s and women’s NCAA basketball Final Four games generated $174 million in sponsorship value for brands, according to data from sponsorship analytics platform Relo Metrics.
The Women’s Final Four accounted for a third of that value after ESPN set rating records throughout the tournament, including 9.9 million championship game viewers for a 103% increase over the 2022 championship broadcast. The opening round of this year’s men’s March Madness tournament drew 8.4 million TV viewers, the best mark in eight years, but TV ratings plunged to an all-time low for the championship between UConn and San Diego State.
Relo says Nike earned $21 million in brand value as the top performing advertiser during women’s games, followed by Spalding ($11M) and Degree ($8M).
CBS’s men’s Final Four coverage saw Spalding generate the most brand value at $33 million, followed by AT&T ($23M) and then Nike at $17M. Relo also tracked brand exposure on social media throughout the tournaments and found 75% of all sponsor media value on social media came during the women’s Final Four.
The women’s Final Four generated more than 2.5 times more engagement on social media than the men’s Final Four, thanks mainly to buzz around epic performances from Iowa star Caitlin Clark and LSU’s Angel Reese.