March Madness a Boon for These Five Large-Cap Stocks

As the NCAA men’s basketball tournament – a.k.a. “March Madness” – becomes more and more profitable every year, several big-name companies routinely cash in. And the resulting profits are a nice short-term boost for those companies’ stocks.

March Madness has become the most lucrative American sporting event aside from the Super Bowl. The tournament brought in $738 million in ad revenue last year, trailing only the $900 million Super Bowl haul.

That money was well spent last year. CBS and Turner Sports (TBS, TNT and truTV) averaged 10.2 million viewers during the 2011 tournament, making it the most-watched March Madness since 2005. Over the course of almost an entire month, that’s a lot of people watching the 30- and 60-second commercial spots those companies pay a premium to get.

Here were the top five spenders – and, thus, some of the most visible companies in the month of March – from last year’s tournament:

  1. General Motors (NYSE: GM)

Ad Money Spent: $57.9 million


  1. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)

Ad Money Spent: $36.8 million


  1. Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO)

Ad Money Spent: $26 million


  1. Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD)

Ad Money Spent: $23.5 million


  1. Capital One Financial (NYSE: COF)

Ad Money Spent: $23.5 million

It’s interesting to note that each one of these large-cap stocks made gains in April, by an average of 4.8%. Coincidence? Perhaps. But there’s no denying the power of exposure. And with 67 games airing over four networks in a span of four weeks, that’s a ton of exposure for the companies that shell out the big bucks for March Madness commercial spots.

It stands to reason that all those ads translated into some nice revenues for the companies that paid for them – if not in March then in the months that followed. So keep an eye on some of the large-cap stocks mentioned above in the coming months.

Chances are you’ll be hearing plenty from them once March Madness tips off tomorrow night.

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