How to Package & Price Your College Basketball Bracket

by Emily Thousand Second Street

Benefits of a Tournament Pick’Em

Deciding to run a college basketball pick’em should be a no-brainer. They can be incredibly valuable for you and your advertisers because they drive high engagement and lots of opportunities for branding and exposure. Plus, pick’ems are a promotion that can really drive results for you – building email databases, growing social networks, and generating revenue.

Your next step is to come up with a list of advertisers to target. You’ll notice this is a really similar pool of advertisers to many other sports promotions, especially football. This is why it’s a great idea to bundle all of your sports promotions together and sell them to your advertisers at the same time.

Decide on a Sponsorship Model

As with any promotion, you can sell 3 different levels of sponsorship for your basketball promotions – exclusive, category exclusive, and multiple sponsorships models.

Targeting an exclusive sponsor is ideal if the advertiser wants to be the center of the pick’em or if they can afford the exclusivity – like KFMB with Oggi’s. Markets large and small can sell exclusive sponsorships. The key to exclusive sponsorships is offering a package that allows your advertiser to shine.

Another approach to make the offer appealing to your advertisers is to have category exclusive sponsorship, where you only have one sponsor in each advertising category, such as bar and restaurant, sporting goods store, and auto dealer.

Focusing on multiple sponsors allows you to build relationships with several advertisers. This approach works in markets both small and large, like the Evansville Courier and Press’ case study. Targeting multiple advertisers, which allows businesses that can’t afford to sponsor the entire contest to participate can result in driving a large amount of revenue for your media property.

Assembling a College Basketball Bracket Sponsorship Package

While some of your revenue from your basketball promotions will come from traditional media, remember to take full advantage of your digital assets, such as:

  • Online run-of-site ads
  • Homepage flippers or rotating billboards
  • Dropdown & peelaway ads
  • Expanding pencils
  • Video pre-roll ads
  • Posts to social media channels like Facebook & Twitter
  • Email

The most valuable digital asset in your arsenal is email. Email is the #1 driver of digital conversions, so it is a tool that you should be using often and using well. If you already have a promotional email list, start there. If you don’t, start building one by including an email opt-in on the registration pages of all of your promotions.

In addition to the traditional and digital assets discussed above, you can also promote your basketball bracket by getting your talent involved. Sportswriters, announcers, DJs, or sportscasters can give your promotions star quality if you make them VIP pickers or the face of the bracket. You can also charge sponsors for the involvement of your talent if you have them promote your bracket through mentions in their articles, blog posts, and broadcasts.

Pricing a College Basketball Bracket Sponsorship Package

Once you have identified your sponsorship type and aligned your bracket with any relevant programming, it’s time to put a price on everything. Start by thinking of the value of each element in the sales package. The best way to figure out what to charge for the package as a whole is to price each element individually and then add it all up to determine the overall value.

Need some inspiration? The following is a sample price package for one sponsor of a college basketball pick’em being run by a mid-size market TV station. For their bracket, the TV network will be looking to get at least four sponsors for a total of $30,000.

500,000 300x250 ROS impressions on website$750
100% SOV expanding pencil ad on your homepage (up for the entire week before the start of the tournament)$650
Feature on homepage carousel promoting contest with logo for the entire duration of the college basketball tournament$500
Email opt-in on the bracket registration page$600
Email campaign, all including the sponsor's logo and coupon/offer:

  • Invitation email encouraging entries to entire promotion database: 1 week before tournament begins

  • Follow up invitation email: 1 day before tournament begins

  • Thank you for playing email: all registered users

  • Winner announcement email at end of the season with a coupon from the sponsor to drive foot traffic

Sportscasters to mention bracket and sponsor every night of the tournament during sports segment (logo on screen)$750
Sponsor logo included on all promo ads for the contest online$500
Text blast to the promotions database encouraging entreis$750
Social media mentions with links back to the advertiser's Facebook or Twitter pages throughout the contest$700
Sponsor can designate up to 10 VIP pickers$600
Mobile site ads linking to the bracket pages (including logo)$700

Once you have prepared your sponsorship packages and identified a list of advertisers to target, it’s time to walk in and start selling!

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