As sports fans settle in to watch the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, companies are hoping to score a major marketing assist from their involvement in college sports.

Sponsorship spending on college athletic departments, conferences, bowl games and related properties is expected to total $1.24 billion in the 2017/2018 season, a 4.5 percent increase over the previous season, according to ESP projections.

The increase exceeds the 3.2 percent increase from 2017 to 2018 and is on par with the projected 4.5 percent increase in overall 2018 North American sponsorship spending.

The NCAA itself has signed two new corporate sponsors in the 2017/2018 season: Google (official cloud partner) and Indeed, which bills itself as the world’s No. 1 job site.

Insurance remains the most active category sponsoring college sports, while State Farm is the most active sponsor.

Insurance companies are 6.2 times more likely to sponsor college athletics than the average category, according to ESP data. Seventy-two percent of NCAA properties report State Farm as a sponsor.

The automotive category is the second most active category, with Nissan the most active sponsor.

College Sports Sponsorship Spending
College Sports Sponsorship Spending
*Projection.
Includes college athletic departments, conferences, bowl games, College Football Playoff and NCAA Corporate Champions and Partners.   

All NCAA Schools And Conferences Most Active Categories
All NCAA Schools And Conferences Most Active Categories
Insurance companies are 6.2 times more likely to sponsor college athletics than the average category.

All NCAA Schools And Conferences Most Active Brands
All NCAA Schools And Conferences Most Active Brands
Seventy-two percent of properties with a sponsor in the insurance category report a partnership with State Farm