The Real Cost of March Madness

By Ben Steverman, with Eben Novy-Williams and Seth Magalaner - 2012-03-21T23:12:14Z

Photograph by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

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TV Ads

One in eight U.S. households watched the University of Connecticut Huskies win the men's championship game in 2011. Advertisers spend heavily to reach such a large audience. According to Kantar Media, $738 million was spent on TV ads during the 2011 men's tournament, more than the amount spent on playoffs for pro basketball and baseball and second only to NFL playoffs. The average cost of a 30-second ad in the championship game: $1.24 million. Digital revenues are also rising. This year, viewers who don't subscribe to Turner Networks must pay $3.99 for access to all games aired on TNT, TBS or TruTV.