It’s that time again, that time when we get together with buddies, co-workers, or hop online with complete strangers and fill out our NCAA Tournament bracket. Some of us will become self-proclaimed experts on college basketball and some of us, my wife included, will make selections based on jersey color or school mascot.
Regardless of strategy, approximately 100 million brackets are expected to be filled out this year, and along with picking our winners come wagers. Whether it is with family over who washes the dishes for the next week or hitting Vegas to put down cold hard cash, we try and jump-start the fun and excitement by betting our picks are the right ones.
Nearly $12 billion will be wagered on the NCAA Tournament, making it the most bet-upon sporting event of the year. With this kind of cheddar to be made — or lost — it entices people and companies to capitalize on this fiscal frenzy.
Alongside billionaire Warren Buffet, Quicken Loans has agreed to offer and pay a person $1 billion for a perfect bracket. Now the odds of this are an astronomical 1 in 9.2 quintillion — that’s nine zeros — but it won’t stop people from filling out a bracket and taking their chances. After all, what do you have to lose?
This is a great business strategy to drive people to their site, making them register each bracket submitted. What better marketing strategy could there be than offering a cool $1 billion?
They are not the only ones to try and make a few bucks off of March Madness. Advertising dollars are spent in bunches by companies wanting to capitalize on the exposure. Approximately $24 million more will be spent on advertising during March Madness than during the entire NFL playoffs combined.
For the entire 2013 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, CBS and Turner generated $1.15 billion in ad revenue from NCAA sponsors such as General Motors, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Capital One, Nissan and Lowe’s. This is without advertising giants like Anheuser-Busch and similar companies that cannot partner with the NCAA because of its alcohol policy.
Lastly, let’s not forget the universities’ portions in this money making. Each conference will receive an estimated $256,000 for each game a conference school plays in the tournament. For example, if the Pac-12 has four schools win a total of six tournament games, the PAC-12 receives $256,000 times six, or $1.536 million. The conference will then decide how to distribute that money amongst its schools. Not bad for those bigger conferences.
Let’s not forget the revenue lost during the tournament. Not on wagers and bets, but by lack in productivity. Eleven percent of HR professionals report seeing an increase in sick days taken and employees coming to work late. Even worse is that some 86 percent of those who watch the tourney will at some point watch a game or check scores while on the clock. With this, there are bound to be less productive days in the workplace and many cover sheets left off the TPS reports.
March is great, not only for all the silly mustaches men try to grow for a whole month, but for the exhilaration that comes from watching college basketball. An abundance of memories are cultivated every year come tourney time, and this year will be no different. Money is going to be made and lost, and bracket picks will be busted, so enjoy this time of year in college sports. It’s by far the best.