By Barry Janoff
April 8, 2015: The trophies have been handed out, the players and coaches have gone home, and the city of Indianapolis has returned to its pre-days of madness.
But Lucas Oil continues to reap the rewards of having the naming rights to the host stadium that played host to the 2015 NCAA Men's Div. I Basketball Final Four on April 4 and the Championship Game on April 6.
Lucas Oil earned an estimated $15.8 million in media exposure for the three games, based on TV exposure for the stadium signage, graphics, on-air mentions and other related publicity, according to research and analysis company Front Row Marketing, a division of Comcast-Spectator.
That is more than double the estimated $6 million that Lucas Oil, which is based in California but operated under the auspices of company founder and Indiana-native Forrest Lucas, is paying for naming rights.
It did not take into account national stories regarding Indiana's controversial "religious freedom" bill that may have included mentions of Lucas Oil Stadium.
The $15.8 million in media exposure total is based on the estimated cost for a 30-second spot for the title game on CBS between Duke and Wisconsin, which topped last year's record of $1.5 million; and 30-second spots on Turner Sports' TBS, TNT and truTV, which aired the two semi-final games — Duke vs. Michigan State and Kentucky vs. Wisconsin — which topped out at about $700,000, according to industry analysts.
Wisconsin's 71-64 win over previously undefeated Kentucky drew the most TV viewers for an NCAA men’s basketball tournament semifinal game in 19 years, averaging 22.6 million viewers across TBS, TNT and truTV, according to Turner Sports and CBS.
The figure was up some 39% from the 2014 semi-final game between Kentucky and Wisconsin.
Duke's title game win over Wisconsin was the highest-rated NCAA men's hoops national championship telecast since 1997, according to CBS and Turner Sports.
Although significant, the $15.8 million in media exposure for Lucas Oil Stadium was below the $17 million Front Row Marketing said that AT&T earned from hosting the 2014 Final Four in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
It also was below the 33.8 million in branded media value Lucas Oil garnered for hosting Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, which aired 0n NBC.
The value of media exposure for NCAA corporate partners in 2014 set a record, reaching $112.8 million from such elements as in-arena signage, on-air graphics and verbal mentions and fan and experiential activations, according to research and marketing firm Kantar Media, New York.
Capital One led here with $29 million in media exposure, followed by AT&T ($23 million), GM's Buick ($8.2 million), Coke ($7.4 million) and Enterprise ($6.1 million).
Lucas Oil paid $121.5 million for a 20-year naming-rights deal for stadium, which opened in 2008 as the home for the Indianapolis Colts.
It will host the Women's Div. I Final Four in 2016, the Men's Final Four in 2021. Lucas Oil Field is the site of the annual NFL Scouting Combine and plans to be in the rotation for consideration for upcoming Super Bowls.
The Men's Final Four in 2016 will take place in Houston's NRG Stadium (April 2 and April 4), followed by Phoenix (2017), San Antonio (2018), Minneapolis (2019) and Atlanta (2020).
PHOTOS COURTESY LUCAS OIL STADIUM
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