March Madness 2021: Final TV Ad Report

Inside the Report

Without an NCAA Men’s or Women’s Basketball Tournament last year due to COVID, billions of ad impressions were removed from TV overnight. While those advertisers had to make new plans in a hurry in 2020, they flocked back in 2021 for what wound up being exciting, upset-filled tournaments on both the men’s and women’s sides.

iSpot’s latest report highlights the top brands and ad creative from March Madness, the biggest new brands for the men’s and women’s tournaments, and industry trends as well.

Key takeaways:

  • Over 130 new brands advertised during the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, which saw an increased presence on linear TV this year
  • Beer, tax filing services and consumer software/apps were among the biggest gainers by impressions share of voice during the men’s tournament
  • For the women’s tournament, automakers, dairy, tax filing services and shaving brands saw the largest jumps (by impressions SOV) compared to 2019
  • “Funny” was on-trend for NCAA sponsors, as 55% of NCAA sponsor ads from Mar. 1 through April 5 were considered “funny”