The second-to-last round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament took place over the weekend. The Baylor Bears and Gonzaga Bulldogs came in hot and won their respective games, placing them head-to-head in the championship game.

Let’s check if the tune-in for the games were as strong as both teams’ winning strategy.

Baylor Bears win the game and the tune-in battle

final-four-share-of-voice-by-network-game-1 Gonzaga Bulldogs take the lead for CBS


Both games resulted in the highest share of voice for CBS at 7.40% and 10.85% for the Houston vs Baylor and UCLA vs Gonzaga games respectively. Gonzaga games have been highly watched and their Final Four game was very close, resulting in a higher share of voice. The winning 3-point shot was hit just as the buzzer to end the game went off. CBS has been leading the share of active viewership when telecasting March Madness games.

CBS held on to viewers for the first and second game

final-four-audience-flow-game-1 final-four-audience-flow-game-2

Nearly 30% of viewers who watched the first game, stayed tuned in to CBS for the second game. At the end of the second game, CBS retained 28% of viewers.

Insurance companies dominate the Final Four ad market


2019 has a higher tune-in than 2020 for most games

march madness tune in by event

One of the first hybrid (in-person) sporting events for 2021, after a year of no live sports, the First Four games of March Madness 2021, saw a higher tune-in than 2019. However, for the remaining games, 2019 continued to be in the top spot.

For more tune-in details for March Madness, take a look at the results of the Sweet 16 games here.

March Madness is on, creating a ripple of fervor among college-basketball-starved fans. The event was one of the first few of the year to have in-person viewing (up to 25% capacity). Similar to the NBA bubble in 2020, all games are being held entirely in Indiana to avoid the need for travel and subsequent exposure.

Let’s dive into the category and brand-level performance of the ads featured during the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament.

Insurance wins hands down

march madness sweet

In the Sweet 16 rounds of March Madness, the insurance category sees the highest spend by industry, followed by the restaurant industry and food & beverage.

Progressive hits a buzzer-beater, displacing GEICO as top spender

march madness sweet

Progressive spent about $866K during the Sweet 16 round of the tournament, just taking the lead from GEICO who came in at ~$769K.

Final scores and spends will be in after the ‘Final Four’ in the next few days. Stay tuned for the naming of the MVPs by total ad spend.

Take a look at the results of the following bracket, the Elite Eight here.