March Madness is one of the biggest social events of the spring. We all create brackets and compete against our peers to see who can pick the winner! We attend a number of happy hours and parties to watch games while touting each point scored by your team of the evening.
Using March Madness in passing in your news, talk or entertainment programming is not going to get you into trouble. Trademark owners want the brand used and associated with the tournament. Trouble arises when using it as a branding term – trying to pass your station off as your “official March Madness station” or an advertiser suggesting that they were “the March Madness restaurant/Happy Hour” are much more likely to cause harm by trying to suggest an official connection between the product or service being sold and the trademarked term.
The issue is one of trademarks or service marks, not copyright. There is a copyright in the telecast itself, but the limitations on the right to use the name comes from trademark law.