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EDO TeamApril 3, 20242 min read

Why Pizza Brands Should Order Up TV Spots During Men’s, Women’s NCAA Tournaments

There’s no denying that one of the best ways to feed a group of people huddled around the television during March Madness is to order a fresh pizza pie—or several, depending on the size of your group. 

It’s no wonder that pizza delivery brands are using the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments to reach hungry, highly engaged viewers across the country. But which brands are successfully driving consumers to take the consumer engagement actions (such as brand searches, website visits, and app downloads) that are most predictive of future sales?

We took a bite out of the data to analyze the effectiveness of ads in the Pizza category that aired during the first two rounds of this year’s Men’s and Women’s NCAA Tournaments. We found that several brands are successfully engaging hungry hoops fans during both tournaments.

Pizza Hut was the lone pizza purveyor to advertise during both the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Tournaments, joined by Domino’s for the men’s tournament, and by Marco’s Pizza and Papa Johns for the women’s event. 


Nobody out-pizzas the Hut during the first weekend of this year’s men’s tournament

Though ads that ran during the first two rounds of the men’s 2024 NCAA Tournament were slightly less effective than the year before, these spots were still 43% more effective than those during the average broadcast or cable primetime program. 

And due to the large audience for the tournament, a brand would have to run 27.4 ads on the average primetime program to match the impact of a single ad during the first weekend of men’s March Madness. 

The top seed in this year’s tournament so far? Pizza Hut. The delivery brand topped rival Domino’s during the first and second rounds, generating 36% more per-person, per-second engagement than its competitor.

This 15-second spot from Pizza Hut was the top creative during the first two rounds of March Madness, promoting a buy-one-get-one-free deal on large pizzas. The spot ran 14 times during the opening weekend and was 21% more effective than the average spot in the Pizza category. 


Marco’s Pizza cuts down the nets during women’s tournament

The three Pizza brands that advertised during telecasts of the first two rounds of the women’s tournament were 7% more effective than the average broadcast and cable ad for the category thus far in 2024.

Marco’s Pizza led the way, with 53% more per-person, per-second engagement than Pizza ad during the first two rounds. It was followed by Pizza Hut, with Papa John’s bringing up the rear. 

The top creative during the first two rounds of the Women’s NCAA Tournament also went to Marco’s Pizza. 

Its 15-second spot backing its offer of a free pizzoli with any large pizza order aired 55 times during the period, resulting in 53% more per-person, per-second engagement than the category average. 



Get the deep dish on all things women’s sports

As March Madness progresses to a thrilling conclusion, it’s never been more important for TV marketers to know the score.

Check out our recent Women’s Sports TV Outcomes report for insight into the women’s NCAA Tournament, the Caitlin Clark effect, and so much more — across the entire women’s sports landscape.