When we think March Madness, we almost instantly envision filling-out a bracket sheet (or maybe 3). But the NCAA tournement also provides good sampling opportunities for CBS and non-CBS stations alike. Here are 16 "Sweet" ideas to consider...
1. Stream: if you're a CBS station locked into covering a hoops game, and breaking news or weather strikes (but doesn't quite meet the threshold of cutting-in to the tourney), have a quick-turn plan in place to go live on the website and mobile device.
2. Push: use mobile push notifications to alert people to any streaming news or weather coverage you might be providing during games
3. Non-CBS Advantage: knowing your competition is "stuck" in a game, don't hesitate to go all-in on breaking or weather coverage
4. Men: yep, more of them will be flowing in and out of your CBS station sample during the tournement; don't over-produce for them, but certainly push pace, highly-visual stories, etc.
5. Women: on the other hand, non-CBS stations will get some extra female eyeballs; a good time to visit your female switchable checklist
6. No Confusion: now with TruTV, TNT, and TBS picking-up many of the games, if you're a CBS-affiliate, be sure you have a very clear schedule of where and when to watch posted online; mention this on-air often; consider push alert reminders too, especially for the bigger contests
7. Team Passion: if one or more teams competing is from your market, consider a promo like this one from WRC in Washington DC
8. Don't Ignore: even if you're not a CBS station, root for your local teams on-air, and on social media by staying involved in the Twitter conversation
9. Launch: certainly a good time of year to launch a new campaign given the extra eyeballs (maybe a spring weather spot)
10. Stock-Up: with some local news premptions (although not as many as when all the games were on CBS), use the "free" time to stock-up on HFR pieces for April and May
11. Tourney Towns: CBS station or not, it's big news if your market is hosting part of the tournement; cover it as a news story (and all of the related angles), not a sports story
12. Highlights: be very careful with extended recaps of games; by the time the news comes on, most people are well-aware how their team(s) performed (especially by the next morning)
13. Top Play: but it doesn't hurt to show the top play of the day/night
14. Contesting: if you're gonna do it, this is a good time to launch a watch and win, especially if the prize involves tickets or something sports-related
15. Anchor Brackets: post the brackets from your anchors online or socially, ask people to comment; keep score of which anchor is winning
16. Social Face-Off: consider a fun contest with an affiliate in another state, seeing which affiliate can gain more likes or shares with a NCAA rivalry badge.
Here's a link to a very early schedule of coverage for your planning purposes.
Contact your SmithGeiger consultant with any questions. And good luck with those brackets!
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