Breaking Down the Revenue of March Madness

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March Madness revenue

In America, we have the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup and of course, March Madness.

Whether or not you watched a single college basketball game this season, I’m willing to bet  you filled out a bracket. It’s nearly un-American not to.

Considering how big of a festival this tournament has become, you could only imagine how much bread the NCAA is reeling in.

The city of Dayton has been playing host to the “First Four” the last several years, which has resulted in nearly $66 million to the economy since 2001. Providence was one of the host cities in the first and second round, which produced about $3.5 million.

However, those figures are pocket money compared to what the city of Houston is expected to make this week for the “Final Four”. H-Town is projected to make roughly $300 million.

It doesn’t stop there. 

The TV money earned for the event is also striking, with an estimated $10 billion paid by CBS CBS +0.15% and Turner Sports for the broadcasting rights of the tournament in 2016. An average 30 second ad sold for $1.5 million in 2015 and over $1.1 billion was earned in ad revenue last year. In fact since 1986, the tournament’s tv rights have increased by a whopping 4,535 percent. The event has a lasting impact throughout the month, as evidenced in 2015 by over 350 million people talking about it on social media outlets, including the President.

We can’t forget about how much money the schools make.

Last season, an estimated $205 million was paid to participating conferences, with the majority of the share going to the power conferences and to the teams that advanced, like the Kentucky Wildcats which earned $8.2 million for making it to the Final Four. A portion of the revenues come from ticket sales as well, which range from $400 to $5,700 for 2016.

Meanwhile, these athletes aren’t always sure where their next meal will come from.

But, that’s none of my business.

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