March Madness Branding Will Be Extended To Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament
After a national outcry over gender inequity in college basketball, the National College Athletic Association announced Wednesday that the March Madness branding will be extended to include the women’s Division I championship tournament starting in 2022, a major switch that could bring more attention to the group.
The decision comes after an external review of gender equity issues conducted this summer by law firm Kaplan Hecker & Fink recommended “substantial changes” to correct inequities between the men’s tournament, one of the most popular annual sports events in the U.S., and the women’s.
The budgets for the men’s and women’s tournaments are also being re-evaluated.
This year, the men’s Sweet 16 garnered an average 6.46 million viewers per game, USA Today reported, while the women’s games only got an average of 915,000. This spring, players and coaches spoke up on social media about lackluster training facilities, after Oregon teammate Sedona Prince posted a TikTok highlighting the disparities between the men’s and women’s weight rooms. The women’s tournament also lacks the hefty sponsorships that the men’s gets. The external report revealed the broadcast rights for the women’s games are being undersold by tens of millions of dollars. To improve its marketing, the women’s division had previously requested to use the March Madness branding, but it was denied by the NCAA, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“The brand recognition that March Madness carries will broaden marketing opportunities as we continue that work to elevate the women’s basketball championship,” Lynn Holzman, vice president of women’s basketball, said in a statement.
March Misogyny: NCAA Is Hurting Women’s Basketball With A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy (Forbes)
MaximBet Offers Statewide NIL Deal To Every NCAA Female Student Athlete In Colorado (Forbes)
The Clock Is Ticking. The Time For NCAA Reform Is Here. (Forbes)