According to data from TNS Media Intelligence for the 2008 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the beer category, which includes the Anheuser-Busch and Miller brands, bought a combined $42.8 million – or about 7 percent – of $643 million in total revenue collected by CBS for the tournament.
With an increase of 24 percent in total revenue since 2007, the tournament generates advertising rates second only to the Super Bowl. The profitable tournament has attracted some 300 advertisers in the past ten years promoting a wide-range of products, and aired an astonishing 140 ads during the final game of the 2008 tournament (ten were for beer). Ads for cars, movies, cell phones, electronics, financial services, food, razors, network television programs, and the U.S. military have all been major advertisers on NCAA games.
The NCAA claims its alcohol advertising policy is the most “conservative and restrictive of any televised sport.” In reality, the league allows 60 seconds of beer ads per hour (which could be as many as four distinct ads), or 120 seconds total per game. That makes the concentration of beer-ad spending on NCAA games more than two-and-a-half times what it is during other television programming, according to Center For Science in the Public Interest . Current NCAA policy prohibits advertising for tobacco products, gambling and other alcoholic beverages, but makes an exception for beer.
In 2005, the SAMHSA National Survey on Drug and Health reported that young adults ages 18-22 enrolled full-time in college were more likely than their peers not enrolled full time to use alcohol, to binge drink, and to drink heavily. This is a sobering statistic when thinking about the young adults enrolling later in long term alcohol rehab or seeking some form of drug rehab programs or drug rehab.