5 Keys To Elevate Your Basketball Promotions

by Julie Foley Second Street

Run an upfront 3-in-1 bracket

If you’ve ever filled out a bracket, chances are you’ve had your bracket busted after one round. For this reason, I strongly suggest you run an upfront 3-in-1 game. In this game your audience participants once before the round of 64, then again before the round of 16, and a third time before the round of 4. This twist on the traditional bracket re-engages your audience after their original bracket inevitably is busted.

Run a variety of promotions

While a bracket should be the foundation of your college basketball campaign, don’t stop there. You can increase your revenue and drive better results for your sponsors by running a variety of promotions. Be sure to consider custom brackets, sweepstakes, and quizzes – as shown below by Karie Thornton of WPSD-TV – that are great solutions for your advertisers.

Plan 3 months out

Now is the time to start preparing your campaign for the tournament in March. You should be putting together a timeline for your campaign, robust sales packages, and a list of advertisers to target – like this one – so your sales staff is ready to start selling.

Suggested Timeline

Milestones to Launch College Basketball BracketDate
Finalize promotional scheduleDecember 18
Put together sales package, targets, and roll out to sales staffDecember 21
Deadline to sellJanuary 22
Begin promoting "Register to make your picks"February 22
64 team bracket released! Promotion blitz to "make your picks"March 13 @ 8PM ET
64 team bracket closes - first game of the tournamentMarch 17 @ Noon ET
16 Team BracketMarch 20-24
4 Team BracketMarch 27-April 2
Championship GameApril 4
*All games close for picks 15 minutes before the start of the game; exact dates during tournament will vary year-to-year

Sample Calendar

PromotionStart bySuggested Revenue
Quiz #1 - Tournament TriviaFebruary 15$1,000
SweepstakesFebruary 28$2,000
Quiz #2 - What Kind of College Hoops Fan Are You?March 3$1,000
Upfront 3 in 1 BracketMarch 15 - April 4$10,000
Quiz #3 - Which College Basketball Coach Are You?March 22$1,000
$15,000 total revenue

Sell 2 months out

Promotions can help you solve advertiser challenges in measurable ways. Whether your advertiser wants to increase brand awareness, build up a database of sales leads, or drive foot traffic, you can offer promotional solutions in your sales package to accomplish their goals. For examples of sales packages, sponsorship types, and pricing models, watch this clip from Jay Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explain their three-tiered sales package.

Promote 1 month out

When it comes to promoting, utilize all the assets you have: your print or on-air talent, email, social media, and digital ads on your website. In these ad spots, be sure to incorporate your promotion’s URL, the prizes, your sponsor’s branding – and even mention that your audience should invite their friends for an office pool or private group. Listen to the clip below to hear how JJ Pellini of KKFN-FM promoted their bracket as the place to run an office pool in their market.


Get your copy of Your Guide to Basketball Promotions.