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1. Work gets sidelined

women watching at man spinning ball at office
LightField Studios / Shutterstock
Many workers slack off during the day games.

The tournament's blanket television coverage hooks fans, including many workers who slack off during the day games.

In 2022 the outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas estimated the lost productivity would cost employers $16.3 billion.

As smartphones have gotten better and data plans have made streaming of the games easier, many employers have simply given up on policing staff. The tourney is just too popular!

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2. Wanna bet?

Close up of a man's hand crushing a wad of hundred dollar bills in concept of getting money with bets in basketball
cunaplus / Shutterstock
Illegal betting on March Madness is huge.

The majority of gambling on March Madness occurs illegally (and technically, that includes your office pool!), so it can be difficult to determine the true figures on betting.

The American Gaming Association says that 68 million U.S. adults plan to wager $15.5 billion on this year’s tournament, including 21.5 million who plan to bet casually with their friends.

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3. Seat prices touch the rim

Basketball ball on stadium seat
Africa Studio / Shutterstock
Seats for the tournament can sell for thousands of dollars in the secondary market.

As of mid March, all-session tickets for the 2023 tournament can be found for about $550 to $650, with price increasing closer to the games. Championship game tickets will typically be over $500, according to TicketSmarter.

The average ticket price for an all-session ticket is $1,607.69, according to TickPick.

But that's a bargain compared to the NBA finals. Last year, seats for Game 1 of the Golden State Warriors-Boston Celtics series were offered for as much as $16,852, as of June 1, according to TicketSmarter.

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4. Package, er, deals?

Interior shot of motel room with unmade bed
anekoho / Shutterstock
If you want to save on a Final Four package deal, expect to be cramped in your hotel room.

The tournament's official ticket seller has been promoting 2023 VIP package deals for the Final Four — including game tickets, pre-game hospitality and a photo opp with the NCAA trophy— starting at over $1,000 per person..

5. Pricey rights

Television, TV watching (basketball game) with feet on table eating snacks and drinking beer - stock photo
Blackregis / Shutterstock
Broadcasters are willing to pay billions for the rights to broadcast the March Madness tournament.

Because March Madness commands a huge television audience and is an advertising bonanza, CBS Sports and Turner have happily paid big money on a long-term contract to broadcast the games.

The media giants agreed to spend over $19 billion to lock up the national television rights to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for a period of 20 years, from 2011-2032.

6. March M-ads-ness

Beer and sport. Watching sport channel and drinking beer in pub
Maksym Poriechkin / Shutterstock
Given the size of the audience, companies are willing to shell out a lot of money to advertise during March Madness.

Brands spent over $500 million on national TV advertising during 2022’s March Madness, according to research by Comperemedia.

SportsPro Media says that ad spots for last year’s championship game were sold by broadcasters CBS and WBD for between US$2.2 and US$2.3 million.

Here's a reminder of why marketers love to join the madness: An estimated 18.1 million TV viewers watched the 2022 title game between Kansas and UNC.

7. Prize money for some players

PHILADELPHIA - JANUARY 2: Temple Owls guard Trey Lowe (11) drives in for a lay-up during the American Athletic Conference basketball game January 2, 2016 in Philadelphia.
Aspen Photo / Shutterstock
Some players have a chance to win prize money during the 3X3U National Championship.

A lucrative side tournament introduced in 2018 features four-man teams from NCAA Division 1 schools eliminated early from the main event.

Last year’s annual "3X3U National Championship" offered $150,000 in prize money.

Since the players are seniors who have exhausted their eligibility in the NCAA, the prize money is legal for the participants to accept.

8. A financial goose egg for most

Against the background of asphalt and a white line and the word dollar is zero. Question
Most college players receive no pay.

While a select few players go on to make millions in the NBA, the vast majority of March Madness participants will never earn any money from basketball.

As student-athletes, college basketball players are generally not allowed to be paid for playing.

They typically get scholarships — along with the unique excitement of playing in front of roaring crowds under the bright lights.

9. Putting a head on the beer industry

cold mug of beer in bar
Nitr / Shutterstock
March is a frothy month for brewers.

Each year, the NCAA tournament helps make the brewing industry a lot frothier, financially speaking.

Brewers increase their production, and — depending on the region — beer sales increase by as much as 26%, says Upserve, a maker of restaurant management software.

Drinking and snacking are staples for many viewers. A survey of 1,683 U.S. sports fans determined that on average, viewers consume 3.7 alcoholic drinks while watching sporting events.

Alcohol brands are positioned for an upkick every season, and target advertising campaigns towards sports fans accordingly.

10. How you say 9,200,000,000,000,000,000

A businessman's hand holding pen completing March Madness bracket
SAJE / Shutterstock
Good luck with that bracket. You'll need it!

The American Gaming association estimates that 56.3 million Americans plan to compete in a bracket contest for this year’s NCAA tournament.

This year the odds of completing a perfect bracket are nearly impossible: 1 in 9.2 quintillion. That's 9.2 billion billion.

It’s mathematically easier to win the Mega Millions lottery back to back than to fill out a bracket with no errors. Good luck!

11. Big wins for host cities

High angle view of  cashier searching for change in cash.
ToTo Label / Shutterstock
Host cities rake it in during the tournament.

Dayton, Ohio, is a perennial host of the “First Four” games that kick off the madness. The event gives the local economy a more than $4 million boost each year, local officials say.

March Madness means big business for restaurants, hotels and especially bars in the lucky cities where the games are played.

12. Dribbling out money

A basketball on a pile of one hundred dollar bills viewed from above
Dan Thornberg / Shutterstock
The NCAA shares the wealth with schools.

The NCAA distributes a portion of the proceeds from the tournament back to the schools providing the teams and talent. The distribution is based on how many March Madness games its members play before the final.

A team earns one “unit” for each game it plays during March Madness, minus the championship. Those units then lead to payments for the team’s conference for the next six years, says Sportico.

By looking at the NCAA’s revenue guidance, Sportico calculated each 2022 win to be worth about $2.02 million.

In 2022, five teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference qualified for the tournament, earning their respective universities a total payout of $36.4 million between 2022 and 2028.

13. Coaches with the most

man hold report at basketball game
Sisacorn / Shutterstock
A college basketball coach can be a state's highest-paid public employee.

In many states, a college coach has the highest salary of any public employee. The top earner for the 2022-23 season is John Calipari, who coaches the University of Kentucky’s basketball program.

According to BetMGM, the Kentucky head coach signed a 10-year deal for $86 million in 2019.

His yearly salary is $8.5 million. Invest it well, Coach!

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About the Author

Tom Huffman

Tom Huffman

Freelance Contributor

Tom was formerly a freelance contributor to Moneywise.

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