FACT: The NCAA will make $1 billion during the Men’s Basketball Tournament
A little March madness may complement and contribute to sanity and help keep society on an even keel
— Henry V. Porter, Illinois High School Association Magazine, 1939
Oregon will play Kansas at 8:49 pm EST tonight in Kansas City, Missouri.
The schools are two of the teams to make it to the “Elite Eight” stage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, a.k.a. “March Madness.”
The first time Oregon was in the Elite Eight, they won the entire tournament.
There were eight teams in the tournament.
The year was 1939.
The Oregon Webfoots beat Ohio State 46–33
(Ohio State would get revenge 76 years later, beating Oregon 42–20 in the College Football Playoff National Championship.)
The 79th playing of the tournament features 60 more teams than the inaugural event.
A total of 67 games will be played over three weeks.
The NCAA, college sports’ governing body, makes nearly all of it’s revenue (over 80%) during March Madness.
2016 financial statements show the NCAA bringing in $797,918,233 in television and marketing rights fees.
Another $123,450,206 was added on for the actual revenues from running the tournament such as ticket sales.
The NCAA distributes the money to the various athletic conferences and uses the funds to run non-basketball championships.
The Association keeps approximately 4%.
The conferences of each of the 68 teams in the tournament receive a portion of a $220 million pot from the NCAA.
A team’s conference gets about $1.7 million for playing one game in the tournament.
The teams that make it to the championship will earn $8.3 million for their conference, paid out over six years.
The average value of a player at a top 25 school is $487,617 according to a 2015 calculation.
If the NCAA used a revenue model similar to the NBA, top teams would be worth $25–40 million.
Nearly all the money the NCAA receives comes from a 14 year, $10.8 billion deal with CBS and Turner Broadcasting.
The deal was set to expire in 2024, but all parties agreed to an 8-year extension.
One look at this chart of ad revenue and you can see why the networks were eager to lock in the deal.
The tournament made CBS/Turner $1.24 billion in 2016.
Only the NFL playoffs pull in more revenue than the college basketball tournament.
The tournament is expected to generate $10.4 billion in bets.
40 million people will fill out over 70 million brackets.
That’s March Madness.
The term was coined by an Illinois High School Association (IHSA) official, Henry V. Porter in 1939.
The IHSA licened the phrase to PepsiCo and Wilson Sports in 1977.
They began allowing other states to use the phrase for a fee: $10.
Legendary CBS commentator, Brent Musburger applied the term to the college tournament.
He had heard it from a car dealer when he was a local reporter in Chicago.
The NCAA and IHSA faced off in court in 1996 and eventually agreed to form a joint venture called the March Madness Athletic Association that holds all rights to the phrase.
Porter was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960.
The Madness of March is running. The winged feet fly, the ball sails high.
And field goal hunters are gunning.
— Henry V. Porter in his poem, Basketball Ides of March, 1942
Oh, and here’s what top-level basketball looked like in 1939. Let’s hope the Ducks, a.k.a Webfoots, a.k.a. “Tall Firs” don’t play like this tonight.
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