Despite increasing signs of the NCAA’s unpopularity within the halls of government and the corridors of social media, the Indianapolis-based organization that regulates major college sports is still attractive to some titans of industry. Currently, the association boasts corporate partnerships and sponsorships with 19 different companies—17 of which are publicly traded and comprise a total market cap of $1.86 trillion.
These NCAA sponsors include Wall Street giants like AT&T—an NCAA title sponsor and the parent company of Turner Sports, which shares broadcast rights of March Madness with CBS—and General Motors, the owner of Buick, the association’s “official SUV.”
This week, a group of prominent college sports reform organizations, united under the banner of “The Coalition for College Athlete’s Advocacy,” issued a call for a social media boycott of the NCAA’s sponsors after none responded to questions about “the injustices that permeate the college sports ecosystem.”
As of late Saturday, a Change.org petition launched by the group was still looking for its 500th signature.
Politics aside, Sportico looked at how a balanced portfolio of the NCAA’s publicly traded sponsors would have fared since official NCAA sponsor UBER started trading on the NYSE in May 2019, trying to answer another NCAA sponsor’s (Capital One) eternal question: What’s in your wallet?
The answer: Returns are fairly mediocre, it turns out. While the S&P 500 has risen 34.1% during this period, our index of these 17 NCAA sponsors only grew 22.4%.
Sportico will be publishing one short business highlight every weekday (and on some weekend days) during the three-week NCAA tournament.
March 20: Men’s vs. Women’s NCAA Tournament Money