Mar 9, 2024; Greensville, SC, USA; LSU Lady Tigers forward Angel Reese (10) handles a fast break against the Ole Miss Rebels during the second half at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

As we count down the days of the 2024 NCAA Women’s Tournament, ESPN has seen a strong ad market for the event, even with higher prices and the company requesting larger overall commitments.

Per Ad Age, a Disney spokesperson says the tournament’s ad load is “very well-sold,” though specifics were not offered. For the title game, ad spots cost roughly $500,000, half of the $1 million for championship game slots in the men’s tournament. However, that’s a more than fivefold increase from previous years, when spots during the title game cost under $100,000.

Much of the inventory was sold months ago, coming out of last summer’s upfronts. That put ESPN in a great position for the remaining inventory, with viewership for women’s games spiking across all networks in the fall and winter.

ESPN also did something unique with ad sales for the women’s tournament, asking for a minimum spend of $1 million along with a matching amount for other women’s sports.

In past years, it was easy to grab ad inventory à la carte for the women’s NCAA tournament. But this year, ESPN asked for a $1 million minimum commitment to advertise during the tournament, and a dollar-for-dollar spend match across other women’s sports properties, confirmed multiple buyers.

The spike in interest in ads for the title game, and the tournament as a whole, isn’t a surprise. Last year’s title game averaged a record 9.9 million viewers, and the full tournament was the most-watched since 2009. ESPN also sold out of ads for last year’s tournament, as announced the day before the tournament began.

[Ad Age]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.