Several Brands Use March Madness Viewership to Promote Products

As March Madness unfolds, it brings excitement, upsets, and shining moments alongside a flurry of name, image, and likeness deal activations. As the NIL landscape continues to evolve, brands have seized the opportunity to promote themselves by capitalizing on the tournament’s attention and viewership. This year is no exception. Here are some of the top NIL deals for this year’s tournament.

Raid

Raid, a company known for its pest control products, is teaming up with Duke men’s basketball guard Jeremy Roach and Baylor women’s basketball guard Darianna Littlepage-Buggs for its first-ever NIL deal. Raid intends to leverage the names of these players to bring awareness to how consumers can use Raid’s Ant & Roach Killer to eliminate household pests. On the men’s side, Roach will lead 4th-seeded Duke against 13th-seeded Vermont. Littlepage-Buggs and the 5th-seeded Lady Bears will take on 12th-seeded Vanderbilt.

Feb 18, 2024; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Lady Bears guard Darianna Littlepage-Buggs (5) scores a basket against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the second half at Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion. Photo courtesy: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Coke Zero Sugar Campaign

Coke Zero Sugar is initiating a fan-centric campaign with the help of former March Madness stars Aaliyah Boston and Jay Williams. The campaign premise is centered on being the ultimate fan. Williams, a former Duke star, and Boston, a former South Carolina star, are in the campaign commercial cheering with their fans while holding bottles of Coke Zero Sugar. Further, they are both fan favorites given that they both won national titles, such as Williams in 2001 and Boston in 2022.

Jan 13, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks forward Aliyah Boston (4) drives past Texas A&M Aggies forward Aaliyah Patty (32) in the first half at Colonial Life Arena. Photo courtesy: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Recover 180

Organic sports drink company RECOVER 180 is partnering with Duke guard Jared McCain. Through this partnership, RECOVER 180 will be McCain’s exclusive source of hydration throughout March Madness. Given how he prioritizes hydration and recovery as critical factors in his success on the basketball court, RECOVER 180 considered McCain an ideal partner.

“I am thrilled to partner with RECOVER 180, an amazing brand with an excellent product lineup, especially during this time of year for college basketball,” McCain said. “As athletes, we understand the importance of staying hydrated, only consuming the best products, and maintaining our bodies at their peak levels. I look forward to working with RECOVER 180 to encourage others to hydrate better.”

McCain joins a roster of athletes who endorse RECOVER 180, including former NBA MVP James Harden, Denver Nuggets wing Michael Porter Jr., and NFL Hall of Famers John Elway and Michael Strahan.

Top Tier Authentics

Top Tier Authentics, a technology company, has partnered with the University of Tennessee to deliver an unmatched fan engagement experience for Vols fans. As a result, Top Tier Authentics is introducing a limited-edition collection of signed basketball memorabilia with interactive elements. Through this partnership, Vols fans can take advantage of opportunities to participate in pivotal moments showcasing the Vols’ athletic accomplishments.

JanSport Mental Health Campaign

In conjunction with March Madness, the backpack brand JanSport has initiated a NIL campaign to bring awareness to athletes’ mental health when faced with intense pressure. The JanSport campaign features six basketball players from men’s and women’s basketball teams. They include Deja Kelly (UNC), Flau’jae Johnson (LSU), and Jada Williams (University of Arizona), who represent the women’s basketball players. Dusty Stromer (Gonzaga), Shaqir O’Neal (Texas Southern), and Sean McCurdy (Faulkner University) represent the men’s basketball players.

Fans can access the campaign on Instagram and TikTok. Each basketball player will produce day-in-the-life content, showcasing their experiences during the tournament while highlighting their commitment to prioritizing mental health through meditation and reading.

Mar 10, 2024; Greensville, SC, USA; LSU Lady Tigers guard Flau’jae Johnson (4) handles the ball against South Carolina Gamecocks guard Bree Hall (23) during the first half at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Photo Courtesy: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

SKIMS

Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS clothing brand has launched a campaign featuring some of college basketball’s top players, including Kentucky’s Rob Dillingham, Arizona’s Caleb Love, and Kansas’ Hunter Dickinson. Each player showcased SKIMS’ Men’s Terry loungewear line in a feature video shared across Kardashian’s social media channels, which boast over 300 million followers. This campaign aims to raise awareness and appeal for SKIMS’ latest men’s apparel collection. The SKIMS’ recent college basketball campaign builds upon its previous one, which featured NFL player Nick Bosa and NBA player Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The feature campaign will be aired and visible throughout the March Madness tournament.

Mar 20, 2024; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Hunter Dickinson (1) addresses the media during the NCAA first round practice session at Delta Center. Photo courtesy: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

To capitalize on the tournament’s excitement, brands leverage name, image, and likeness deals. Every partnership, from pest control to sports drinks, aims to engage fans, promote products, and support athletes. Viewers will be able to see the impact of these innovative collaborations as they enjoy the NCAA tournament.

Author

  • Darian Kelly

    Darian is a Sports Industry Management graduate of Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies. Darian hosts The Jersey Podcast and is a sports documentary fanatic who loves to talk professional and college football and basketball.

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