Matthew McCall, Benzinga Staff Writer
March Madness officially kicked off yesterday in Dayton and the big dance really gets going on Thursday.
While the productivity around the country drops dramatically as the games tip off, there are some companies that are taking the tournament seriously.
A few ETFs that are in play for the month of March have ties to the big dance.
CBS (CBS) and Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner (TWX), will broadcast all 67 games again this year. The ad revenue generated from the games is a big chunk of change with the total hitting $1.15 billion last year according to Kantar Media. This year a 30-second spot will cost an advertiser $1.5 million during the championship game.
The PowerShares Dynamic Media ETF (PBS) has both CBS and TWX in the top holdings with each making up five percent of the portfolio. The ETF is a good mix of both large-cap and smaller stocks with each making up approximately half of the allocation. Over the last year the ETF is up 37 percent easily outpacing the S&P 500.
Every big event is now tied to social media as a way to additionally for promotion and March Madness is no different. Capital One (COF), one of the three main sponsors of the event, has an event lined up with Twitter (TWTR) that allows users to ask questions about the games with a Sports Illustrated writer. Logging into Facebook (FB) will also be an expanding medium for followers of the game with advertisements aimed at generating more buzz and revenue.
The Global X Social Media ETF (SOCL) is a basket of the big names in the niche sector that includes both TWTR and FB. Another top holding, LinkedIn (LNKD) may not have as much traffic in the next few weeks as employees are more concerned about the games than networking. Or will it lead to people looking for new jobs?
Most people will fill out the March Madness bracket for an office pool, but the big money will be made and lost in Vegas as gamblers look to bet on the individual games. The Market Vectors Gaming ETF (BJK) is a basket of 45 stocks from around the globe that are involved in the gaming industry. The top holdings are Wynn Resorts (WYNN), Las Vegas Sands (LVS), and Sands China.
The ETF has performed well over the last 12 months with a gain of 38 percent, outpacing the S&P 500 but has struggled recently. Last year during the tournament the ETF had a good run, gaining seven percent. Expect more gamblers to wager their hard earned money on games with the ultimate winner being the casinos.