March Madness Business Is Booming
March Madness is, without question, the highlight of the college basketball season and one of the annual showcases of the sports year. Millions of brackets are filled out, fantasy pools are entered and sports fans across the country take in the three-week extravaganza that begins in full on Thursday.
But March Madness also means big business for the NCAA and, in contrast, a loss of a significant amount of money for employers thanks to office pools.
The NCAA Tournament will take over all digital platforms in the coming days, as it will trend extremely well on all social media. In return, the NCAA will receive roughly $740 million from CBS and Turner in TV rights fees for this year’s tournament alone. That amounts to $11 million per game, a staggering figure that fully indicates the popularity of March Madness.
CBS and Turner have done well in previous years of making the broadcasts as accessible as possible, with this year’s selection revealing being the one hiccup. With the unveiling of seeds and brackets dragging out more than an hour, the full bracket was leaked on Twitter before CBS was able to reveal it.
Minus that faux pas, CBS and Turner have made the tournament a must-watch live event, both on television and digitally. All games are now broadcast on television, online or a streaming app, giving viewers the full opportunity to watch several games at once. In this digital age, it’s not uncommon for fans to have separate games on their tablet/phone, computer and television, enhancing the March Madness experience even further.
The one downfall, at least for employers? Businesses are estimated to lose $4 billion in productivity, according to an annual report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. The article on Forbes indicated 51 million workers compete in a March Madness office pool, while more than 1.5 million will be watching online at work over the next two afternoons. The report made the correlation that the ability to watch via a phone or data stream made watching easier than ever before, something that will be obvious over the next three weeks.
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