Media

Companies That Love March Madness the Most

March Madness has arrived for you college basketball fans. What is different about March Madness, versus the Daytona 500, the Indy 500, the Super Bowl, and other key sporting events, is that March Madness takes place over the course of many days. That means that the companies sponsoring it, and which benefit from it, can have the opportunity to benefit far more than for any of the big one-day sporting events.

24/7 Wall St. wanted to see which companies will be the biggest winners from the March Madness craze. Some will almost definitely be beneficiaries of this long event. What may make this so much more closely watched than in years past is that the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) backing of this $1 billion dollar perfect bracket will keep many more people interested for far longer — and many watchers might not even care about basketball and sports very much at all.

Quicken Loans is the offering agent for the perfect $1 billion bracket. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) was the insurer, and the sign-up page that was being touted so often was via Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) through the Yahoo! Sports site. This is free advertising for Quicken Loans and for Warren Buffett, but it is also likely to keep sending more and more sports-related Web traffic to Yahoo! Sports. With the odds being something close to one-in-9.2 quintillion, it seems like whatever Warren Buffett charged for the insurance policy should be free money to Berkshire Hathaway.

Another winner here is almost certain to be Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (NASDAQ: BWLD). Shares just hit a new all-time high above $157 in fact. In radio ads, and on its website, Buffalo Wild Wings touts itself as the Official Hangout for NCAA Sports. The company’s market cap is just shy of $3 billion now.

Domino’s Pizza Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) loves big sporting events, and the company’s CEO made a recent media appearance on CNBC talking up the pizza (and now wings too) delivery chain’s prospects to win from the March Madness surge in home orders. In fact, the CEO said that 1.7 million pizzas during the semifinals of March Madness were delivered last year. The company offered huge discounts this week for those who order their pizzas and deliveries online.

Under Armour Inc. (NYSE: UA) is touting 24 different team tee shirts for the men’s tournament. Whether this adds meaningfully to revenues is anyone’s guess, when they have so many different sports they promote, but the company committed in the past year or so to double its revenue base by 2016. Every little bit may help.

Television and cable is a mixed bag. It is hard to know who wins and loses here, other than the local channels perhaps getting the cold shoulder from the networks. Turner is owned by Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX). Turner pay-TV stations TNT and TBS will carry many games, and broadcast network CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) will carry some. The first two games of the Final Four will be on the pay-TV channels, but CBS will broadcast the championship game. CBS also has its popular Sportsline.

Lastly, here is our own recommendation of what you should do (and not do) if you are lucky enough to win this $1 billion perfect bracket — or for those who are lucky enough to win the lottery or come into any unexpected wealth.

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