Paramount and WarnerMedia Sideline Their Streaming Strategies for March Madness

HBO Max and Paramount+ are taking a backseat to the NCAA's own tournament app

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After Covid-19 canceled the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament in 2020 and restricted the crowd size for last year’s return, advertisers were eager to be part of the first “normal” March Madness games since 2019. CBS and Turner Sports sold out their advertising inventory for the tournament earlier than ever, bringing in more than last year’s estimated $1 billion combined haul.

“If you look at this past year, having sports air when they’re supposed to air and having arenas full of excited fans, it’s just shown us that audiences can return, even in linear environments, to live sports at levels they were pre-pandemic,” said Jeff Gagne, svp of strategic investments at Havas Media.



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This story first appeared in the March 21, 2022, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.