Written by Hannah A.
The end of March means nothing to some people, but for college basketball fans it signifies the ending of March Madness. With the Final Four approaching, this tournament has impacted the economy in many ways and will only generate more money moving into the final rounds.
Every year, millions of people around the world create brackets, betting on which powerhouse teams are going to lead the tournament. Whether you spend hours researching teams, pick the winners based on which mascot you like better, or scramble to put together a bracket at the last second because you forgot, almost everyone is in it for the same reason: to win money. In the 2017
NCAA tournament, an estimated $10.4 billion was wagered legally, an increase of roughly $1.2 billion since the previous years tournament. Another $10.1 billion is bet illegally, totaling roughly $20.5 billion a year being wagered on these games, with the average bet on a bracket being anywhere between $20 and $50. Even though the odds of getting a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion, multiple people still fill out multiple brackets in order to strengthen their odds of winning their pools (“March Madness”).
It is without a doubt that this year has been one of the wildest tournaments since it started in 1939. This year was the first time ever a 1 seed beaten 16 seed, and there have been countless of other major upsets that have made this tournament so interesting to watch. TV companies such as CBS paid “$19.6 billion for basketball tournament broadcast rights by CBS/Turner to NCAA for 2011 through 2032” (Schwartz), and another $1 billion is made in ad revenue. This is good for the NCAA as they are receiving a lot of money, and it is also very good for companies that are paying for ads because even though they are paying millions to get their brand on TV in the form of a 30 second commercial, this is great for their brand recognition due to the 80.7 million people that watched the tournament in 2015. With numbers that high three years ago, the numbers now will be even higher.
There is a huge opportunity cost when it comes to watching March Madness as well. During the initial rounds, most of the games are aired during the day, so people with full time jobs or who are in school aren’t able to watch these. However, people have found ways to get updates on their phones or stream the games to their computers. It is estimated that this year, there will be $6.8 billion of corporate losses because of distracted and unproductive workers watching the games. This is bad for the companies because they are losing a lot of possible revenue and profit that could have been easily made if it weren’t for the games.
March Madness has proven to have positive and negative effects on the economy whether it be the large amount of money cities are making when hosting the games or the billions lost to distracted workers and busted brackets. However, while some are benefited negatively in the economy, we can all agree that we are benefited positively because of the pure excitement and entertainment college basketball gives viewers all over the world for the month long period that comes only once a year.
Athlon Sports. “Economic and Social Impact of March Madness
“March Madness Stats & Facts.” WalletHub,
Schwartz, Elaine, and Econlife Team. “March Madness Money Facts and the NCAA, the Teams,
the Viewers.” Econlife, 19 Mar. 2017, econlife.com/2017/03/march-madness-money/.