March Madness: One of the largest opportunities for brands to connect with an enthused and engaged sport fan across most all devices and platforms.

So how are brands capitalizing on March Madness to stand apart from the competition to get their message heard? Social media is obviously one of the quickest and easiest avenues, but, for maximum reach, it’s still all about those TV ads. Did you know that 96% of the March Madness viewership is glued to the TV. 96%.

This infographic (courtesy of Koeppel Direct) lays out the details in viewership trends, marketing stats and ad dollars spent during the previous years of March Madness. It goes to show that if you want to be heard at peak viewership, be ready to invest some serious coin.

March Madness Marketing Stats & Viewership Trends

Automotive, financial services, insurance, restaurants and telecom were among 2015’s top 5 categories for March Madness TV advertisements . AT&T led the charge with a whopping $56.2 million investment, followed by Buick ($53.5 million), Capital One ($37.1 million), Southwest Airlines ($33.5 million), Samsung ($30.3 million), Infiniti ($28.1 million), Coca-Cola ($27.5 million), Allstate ($26.5 million), UPS ($23.8 million) and Geico ($23.4 million). (That’s what we were saying about serious coin.)

Brands considering March Madness marketing need to consider a few very important factors:

  1. Build a marketing strategy that addresses traditional media as well as social media and mobile devices.
  2. Be consistent when marketing across all platforms. If you are delivering one message via social media and something completely different on television, things will get very confusing for your audience.
  3. Every ad design should be platform-specific. A television ad will not convert as well as a radio ad, and a wordy Facebook post might won’t do as well on Instagram, etc.

March Madness is a huge opportunity for brands to expand their reach with sports fans. And just by looking at the numbers in this infographic, the cross-platform viewership potential of this event is massive. If marketers and brands are prepared for the increasingly large undertaking, it can be extremely beneficial to advertise during March Madness.