Now that the 2021 Men’s Basketball NCAA Tournament has yet again come and gone, it is time for us to look back at the advertising data toplines from the tournament and, more importantly, the championship.

Tournament Recap

Our data shows that on CBS more than 366K ads aired, from 2,300 different advertisers during tournament games.

The top advertiser this year was CBS, airing over 16,000 promos, with the top airing promo advertising their new show “Clarice” 

After CBS, Geico was next highest in airings with 13,438 total airings throughout the tourney. Their top airing ad continued to be the classic ad featuring Dikembe Mutombo. Only 5 creatives saw more than 1,000 airings during games or the Selection Sunday event.

Other top advertisers were Capitol one with 11,650 airings, Coca-Cola with 10,500, Progressive with 10,100 and All State with 9,229.

Buick and Nissan were the only car brands with over 5,000 total airings. And finally State Farm clocked in with 6,700 airings over the three weeks.

On national cable on TBS and TNT, where games aired for the first few rounds of the tournament, we captured Geico, Nissan and Progressive with the most ad occurrences on both stations.

National TBS TNT
Geico 61 38
Nissan 55 38
Progressive 45 27

Championship Weekend

The Final Four games on Saturday and the Championship game on Monday aired only on CBS. During the Championship between Baylor and Gonzaga, the top five advertisers were as follows. Capital One with 779, Geico with 585, Paramount Plus with 584, Apple with 584, and Coca-Cola with 582.

Some major trends that we found through our advertising data toplines across the whole tournament were the influx of car insurance companies advertising in high volume. Geico and Capitol One were consistently the top advertisers throughout the whole tournament as they both partnered with high profile people in the basketball world, with Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and appearing with commentator Charles Barkley in a series of Capitol One commercials

After a full year off from advertising during this major sporting event, it was interesting to see what trends emerged and how a full year of the pandemic may have changed some advertisers strategies for these gigantic televised events.