Jim Nantz, Capital One commercial Photo Credit: Capital One

Capital One has produced some classic commercials in recent years during the NCAA Tournament, with hilarious visuals and characters such as Charles Barkley, Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee and Jim Nantz trading one-liners.

The company is back for its 14th year as a “Corporate Champion” sponsor of the tournament, and released an ad this week that might be one of its best yet.

The ad, released Wednesday, shows the usual cast that has appeared in previous Capital One NCAA Tournament commercials: Barkley, Jackson, Lee, Nantz, Magic Johnson and Jennifer Garner, among others.

This year, the cast sings Dionne Warwick’s 1985 cover hit, “That’s What Friends Are For.” Nantz steals the show right away, opening the commercial with a harmonica solo.

“Half court shots, and mascots, buzzer beaters,” the cast sings.

“An unlimited 1.5% cash back with the Capital One Quicksilver card,” Jackson quickly sings, reminding us we are watching a commercial.

Barkley asks Jackson, “Sam, you crying?”

Jackson: “No no man, just got a little madness in my eye.”

Nantz breaks into the commercial with a game-style call (“freshman with the hot hand shoots and scores”) before closing out the song with another harmonica solo. (Truth in advertising disclaimer: He is not actually playing the harmonica. It looks more like he’s eating a corn cob, but now that he’s retired from calling the NCAA Tournament after 32 years, he’s got plenty of time to practice his harmonica skills.

Here’s a flash back to last year’s commercial, featuring Willie Nelson and his hit, “On the Road Again.”


Basketball fans generally liked the commercial, although some worried they would see it way too much during the tournament.

[Jimmy Traina on Twitter/X]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.