CBS executives say their advertising sales for the NCAA tournament have held up well in the economic downturn.
The network is keeping a major sponsor that has cut back on marketing: General Motors, which did not buy time during the Super Bowl, is honoring its multiyear contract.
"We're in good shape, but we still have work to do," John Bogusz, CBS's executive vice president for sports sales and marketing, said Tuesday.
Not surprisingly, advertising from financial institutions, a major component in recent years, is down. But that's partly offset by increased interest from movie studios and the tech industry.
Auto companies are still buying ad time despite their struggles. CBS has added a new deal with Audi.
"We're down to a handful of units (left to sell) in the Final Four and the championship game," Bogusz said. "We do have scattered inventory available in the earlier rounds of the tournament."
TV sports have proved more recession-proof than other programming, and the NCAA tournament seems to be especially so, CBS Sports president Sean McManus said.
"People are waiting to jump out of their chairs and cheer for something," he said.