A growing number of basketball fanatics are watching the buzzer beaters and upsets of March Madness on mobile devices. And auto brands don't want to miss a moment of that action.
While NCAA corporate sponsors Buick and Infiniti still will pepper the TV airwaves with products during the tournament, the March Madness Live app and its growing contingent of viewers continue to be an increasingly important outlet for brands chasing viewers who aren't watching on TV.
Infiniti, a sponsor of the Android version of March Madness Live, said the streaming audience has seen consistent growth -- a 70 percent increase since 2011 in the number of users streaming content, said Allyson Witherspoon, Infiniti USA's director of marketing communications and media.
Last year, the tournament delivered a record 18.1 million hours of "video consumption" on March Madness Live -- up 2 percent from 2015 -- according to broadcasting giant Turner. The championship game generated 1.1 million viewing hours on March Madness Live, Turner said, up 16 percent from the previous year.
According to Turner, viewers have watched more games on average in each of the last five years on March Madness Live, rising from 2.6 games in 2012 to 3.7 in 2016.
This potent combination of TV and digital puts advertisers in front of millions of engaged viewers over several weeks for an event that draws a highly educated and affluent crowd. It's an important playground for second-tier premium brands such as Infiniti, Buick and Acura that target young, affluent buyers but have long struggled to find their niche.