Infiniti Continues Drive To 'Own' Auto Category During March Madness

2011 Infiniti MMarch 1, 2010: Infiniti said it plans to expand its presence in men's college basketball with a new deal making the automaker an "official corporate partner" of the 2010 NCAA Division I men's basketball championship and CBS Sports. Financial terms were not disclose.

The deal comes on the heals of Infiniti's multi-level, multi-platform sponsorships with ESPN, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten Conference.

The alliance with March Madness will focus on the 2011 Infiniti M performance luxury sedan, which goes on sale at Infiniti retailers nationwide on March 18.

Infiniti said a "360-degree" marketing approach includes TV on ESPN during college basketball for the rest of the current season and on CBS during "March Madness," print, an integrated package of sponsorships, content-driven original programming and online and social media extensions at, Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. The campaign will build through March Madness to the 2010 NCAA Men's Division I Final Four April 3-5, which will take place in Indianapolis. Lead agency is TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif.

Under its deal with CBS Sports, Infiniti will create original-content custom on-air features that bring "inspired college basketball and coaching stories to viewers during CBS Sports' broadcasts."  Infiniti also is the exclusive sponsor of's marquee "Infiniti Bracket Challenge," which attracted 1.1 million players in 2009.  The winner of " Bracket Challenge presented by Infiniti" will be awarded a new 2011 Infiniti M sedan.  (Fans can sign up for the bracket challenge at

In addition, Infiniti will support's "March Madness on Demand" throughout the NCAA championship tournament (MMOD had 7.5 million unique visitors in 2009, per CBS Sports).

 "This is our second year of involvement as a major sponsor of college sports through individual conference partnerships and now, what we believe is one of the most exciting sporting events of the year, the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship on CBS Sports," Ben Poore, vice president, Infiniti Business Unit, said in a statement.  "The tournament on CBS Sports is also the ideal showcase for the broadcast debut of our all-new 2011 Infiniti M performance luxury sedan and our message, 'Inspiration changes the game.'"

Infiniti Putting The 'M' Into March Madness Marketing

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