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Ad Inventory Sold Out For NCAA Tournament

“The NCAA Tournament is following in the footsteps of the Super Bowl.”

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March Madness Logo

There is plenty of reason to smile in the halls at CBS and Turner right now. Virtually all ad inventory for the Men’s NCAA Tournament is sold out according to Deadline and revenues are showing huge increases after two years of uncertainty.

While Deadline does not cite any specific numbers, writer Date Hayes quotes CBS Sports’ John Bogusz as saying that ad rates are seeing “close to double-digit” increases” over 2021. Ads are bought to run over the course of the three-week tournament. Advertisers are expected to pay over $2 million to be a part of the Final Four.

Bogusz says ad sales set a new record for the event this year. He said that the total figure is “in the range” of $1 billion in revenue.

“We still deliver significant ratings, and people watch these programs live. So, between a larger audience and delivering them in real time, I think advertisers across all demo groups are allocating more dollars to the sports marketplace,” he said.

The NCAA Tournament is following in the footsteps of the Super Bowl. NBC set revenue records and attracted the biggest price tags ever for 30 second ads. That inventory sold out too. Advertisers want to spend on sports right now.

The 2020 tournament was cancelled entirely. It was the first major sporting event lost to Covid-19. The 2021 tournament was played in full with all games taking place in Indianapolis. This year will see games again spread across the country with the Final Four scheduled for New Orleans on March 15. The normalcy is a major appeal to advertisers.

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Stephen A. Smith’s ‘Up For Debate: The Evolution of Sports Media’ Now Out on ESPN+

“We’re diving deep into the heart of the game, breaking down barriers and showcasing the evolution of sports discourse.”

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Graphic for an ESPN+ Original Series, Up for Debate
Courtesy: ESPN

The new three-part ESPN+ Original Series, ‘Up For Debate: The Evolution of Sports Media,’ debuted earlier today. Viewers can now stream the series on ESPN+, which delves into the history of sports talk debate programming over the past seven decades– from Howard Cosell to Stephen A. Smith to Cam’Ron– and examines how this type of sports discourse has evolved and reached its current state, as well as what the future may hold for it.

“We’re diving deep into the heart of the game, breaking down barriers and showcasing the evolution of sports discourse,” said Executive Producer Stephen A. Smith in a release. “From the legends who paved the way to the current Kings and Queens of the mic, we’re bringing you a front-row seat to the passion and intensity that fuel debates in today’s generation of sports. So buckle up! Here we come.”

Religion of Sports’ Gotham Chopra, also an Executive Producer on the series stated, “We’re thrilled to partner with Stephen A. Smith, a pioneer and undisputed legend in the world of sports talk, on this entertaining and fascinating series. Highlighting both the evolution of sports media and a wide range of beloved personalities, we know that fans of sports, media, and passionate debate are going to love it.”

Several sports personalities are featured in the series including Troy Aikman, Mina Kimes, Molly Qerim, Shannon Sharpe, Michael Wilbon, Hannah Storm, Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo, Jemele Hill, Bomani Jones, Cari Champion, and Cam’Ron, and others.

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PGA Championship Final Round on CBS Averages 4.9 Million Viewers; Up 10% Over Last Year

The final hour of the broadcast, from 6:15 p.m.-7:14 p.m. ET averaged 7.764 million viewers.

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Phot of a flag with the logo of the 2024 PGA Championship and a CBS Sports logo.
Photo: CBS Sports

The television ratings for the final round of the 2024 PGA Championship have come out and saw a 10% increase over last year’s event. The final round averaged 4.958 million viewers according to information provided by CBS.

Xander Schauffele won his first major championship by one stroke over Bryson DeChambeau and as he did, the broadcast peaked with 8.421 million viewers tuning in to see an exciting finish with a solid leaderboard. The final hour of the broadcast, from 6:15 p.m.-7:14 p.m. ET averaged 7.764 million viewers.

Not only did the linear broadcast find success, the stream on Paramount+ was the most-streamed PGA Championship with double-digit year-over-year growth in households, minutes and average minute audience.

Additionally, ESPN averaged 1.6 million viewers for second round coverage on Friday, which was an 18% increase over 2023. The broadcast peaked with 2 million viewers. Friday was the day No. 1 player in the world Scottie Scheffler was arrested making his way into the golf course.

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Ryan Leaf: Jay Glazer ‘Is a Fraud When it Comes to Anything Mental Health or Wellness Related’

“Phelps is an inspiration but it gives me pause that he muddies his mind with that con man.”

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Photos of Ryan Leaf and Jay Glazer
Leaf Photo Credit: Houston Chronicle Glazer Photo Courtesy: FOX Sports

Swimmer Michael Phelps was a guest on NBC’s Meet the Press this weekend and as he has done before, he talked candidly about the challenges he has had with his mental health and his bouts with depression. He spoke with Kristen Welker and talked about FOX Sports football insider Jay Glazer being his “mental health buddy.” This brought quite the response from former Chargers quarterback and current football analyst Ryan Leaf.

“Jay Glazer and I, we’re both mental health buddies,” Phelps said. “We both struggle, and when we’re both having our bad days, we go through similar ups and downs. And we do similar things when we’re down, if that makes sense. We both had this conversation the other day because when it happens to me, I reach out to him. When it happens to him, he reaches out to me. I have a couple of friendships like that where we’ve kind of been really able to form a bond.”

In response to a social media post about the interview, Leaf held nothing back as he posted his thoughts about Glazer.

“Glazer is a fraud when it comes to anything mental health or wellness related,” Leaf wrote. “He uses it for his benefit and really isn’t invested in any of it unless it benefits him and his brand. Phelps is an inspiration but it gives me pause that he muddies his mind with that con man.”

Leaf has been vocal as well about his struggles with depression, addiction and a suicide attempt. Leaf also spent 32 months in prison when he violated the terms of his probation by breaking into a home to steal prescription drugs.

Back in 2018, a story from the New York Post talked about Leaf and Glazer working together on Glazer’s ‘Merging Vets and Players’ (MVP) initiative.

Glazer, who was recently married and has been on his honeymoon, posted on his X account in response to Phelps’ interview, “Brother, I am so honored to walk this walk with you!!! We save each other my dude!”

Glazer has not yet commented on the post from Leaf. Should he respond, we will update this story.

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