It’s about to get really crazy, as college basketball watchers put in their bets on which teams will win in “March Madness.” Teams around the country will be competing in the annual basketball-athon, but we all know it’s about much more than basketball.
The annual NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is about money. Lots of it. How much might surprise you. According to Black Enterprise, “picking teams and waging bets on who will win in March Madness is estimated to cost the American workforce nearly $2 billion.” Everyone from President Obama to low-level employees gets in on the act. A lot of time goes into picking a winning team, making wagers and keeping track of what’s what.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates that more than 60 million Americans take valuable time away from their workday to participate. While that’s good for workplace morale, employers pay dearly in lost earnings, distracted and unproductive workers.
March Madness officially begins on March 19 when the 2015 NCAA tournament begins in Las Vegas, but workers across the country began working on their brackets as early as March 16. “That is when workers across the country begin clogging the company Internet with efforts to craft a winning bracket for their workplace and non-workplace betting pools,” according to Challenger.
About 50 million Americans will participate in workplace pools and 27 percent surveyed say they will watch the game at work.
Madison Avenue is a huge fan of March Madness. That’s because advertising has increased at an average rate of 8.21% every year, for each of the past 10 years, according to industry experts. Kantar Media says the annual NCAA Tournament has generated approximately $7.5 billion in TV advertising.
The NCAA Tournament consistently ranks amongst the largest sporting events in the world like the Super Bowl, World Cup and Summer Olympics. With such a large, worldwide audience watching, The NCAA has successfully commercialized March Madness into a magnet for big corporate sponsors to affiliate and advertise their companies to the global market.
The business of March Madness is reaching new heights in 2015. It sure would be nice if some of the revenue would find its way to those who really earn it—the players.