"March Madness" brand to be used for DI Women’s Basketball Championship
By Taylor Seid
October 24, 2021
Photo Credit: Associated Press
After months of pressure from the Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee, the NCAA finally took a big step towards gender equity in Division I Basketball when it announced that it will start using the “March Madness” brand for the 2022 Women’s Basketball Championship.
The use of “March Madness” to describe the Men’s Division I Basketball tournament has been one of the major visible differences between the men’s and women’s tournaments since it was instituted in 1982.
This change is long overdue as for years, the NCAA faced widespread criticism over gender inequities in basketball, specifically with the issues that arose last year: Division I females received weight rooms with limited equipment, pre-packaged meals, less expensive antigen tests, and a lack of on-court branding, while males had stocked weight rooms, full buffets, PCR tests, and branding on every court.
The public condemnation of the disparities led the NCAA to review its approach to equity among men’s and women’s sports and ultimately incorporate the “March Madness” brand into the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. As women’s basketball continues to grow, efforts by the NCAA play a critical role in enhancing the game and allowing it to gain greater recognition and support.
The NCAA Vice President of Women’s Basketball Lynn Holzman claims “the brand recognition that March Madness carries will broaden marketing opportunities as we continue that work to elevate the women’s basketball championship.”
In 2019, the women’s tournament generated $15.1 million in revenue and $2.8 million in net losses while the men’s tournament generated $917.8 million in revenue and $864.6 million in net income. The new use of March Madness will help the women’s tournament close this large gap and generate more revenue through increased marketing opportunities.
Although there is a need for further changes, the decision to brand the women’s tournament as “March Madness” demonstrates an important first step to achieving greater equity between men’s and women’s sports.