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I grew up in Kentucky where basketball is practically a religion as well as a sport. Basketball is in my blood, so I wanted to treat you to a little March Madness trivia. I’ve grown up around basketball stats, legends, tales, and trivia pieces. In fact, at one of my alma maters, Centre College, one of the professors periodically teaches a course on how the rituals of basketball are like those of a religion.
Basketball is Serious Business
We take our basketball very seriously. For example, my husband is a Texan who went to Texas A&M and the University of Texas – some big sports schools too. Before we got married, we had the “who do we cheer for” talk and subsequent agreement about sports. We settled on cheering for UK (and other Kentucky teams depending on the game or tournament) in basketball, and for A&M / UT for football. This was one of the smartest agreements we resolved in advance. As legendary basketball coach John Wooden would say, it’s the little things that make the big things happen!
In Kentucky, we have some pretty major rivalries – most notably the one between the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. And our memories about games are very long. For those of us who grew up there, phrases like “the shot” which may seem innocuous to others can wreak moments of collective heartache in those who remember what it was or have heard all about the 1992 Final Four — even if they weren’t alive or old enough to remember it. And it’s usually followed by a few choice words about the person who made that shot and his team…. And mentioning Rick Pitino coaching at Louisville after having coached at UK can also incite some choice words too.
March Madness Trivia
In honor of our upcoming March Madness season, this die-hard Kentucky Wildcat fan is going to try her best to be unbiased and present some fun NCAA basketball trivia. So let’s get to it. It’s a lot easier than burning a couch, I promise!
Let’s take a look at several different types of March Madness trivia. We’ll look at the tournament’s economic impact, the business side, putting together your brackets and betting on games, tv rights, getting tickets and attending the NCAA tournament, game history, and even what fuels the fans.
The NCAA Basketball Tournament’s Economic Impact
Did you know that companies lose as much as $4 BILLION due to unproductive workers during March Madness? That’s right. Everyone sneaking to watch the game online, staying home, taking a long lunch or leaving early… All of those activities add up to a collective loss of productivity worth $4 Billion.
In 2017, the city of Phoenix projects to see an economic boost between $100 and $150 Million dollars during the Final Four. Phoenix expects to see 125K fans coming in from out-of-state to attend the Final Four. These out-of-state visitors will spend on average $2,100 per person on lodging, food and public transportation to attend March Madness.
There will be 3,600 volunteers helping out during the Final Four.
To get an idea of how a host city for any of the games looks, let’s look at Dayton, OH. Since 2001, Dayton’s economy has seen an impact of $66 Million. Not too shabby!
College Basketball is a Big Business
There’s a lot of money spent on college basketball programs. The NCAA funded $205 Million in scholarships to Division 1 schools for the 2015-2016 school year.
Duke’s coach, Mike Krzyzewski is college basketball’s highest paid coach. He makes 6 times more than the university’s president. What does he bring home? $7.3 Million. He also does better than the president of the NCAA, Mark Emmert. Emmert’s annual salary through 2020 is $1.9M.
The value of basketball programs at the big schools is incredible. Look at the estimated value of 5 prominent basketball programs:
- University of Louisville –$45.4 Million (the highest among all schools)
- Kansas University — $30.8 Million
- University of Kentucky — $28.9 Million
- Indiana University — $27.3 Million
- University of North Carolina — $26.6 Million
And the players see some value too. While players aren’t paid, the average value for a player on a Division 1 team is worth about $120,000 for tuition, room and board. But if the player later makes the NBA draft, a rookie will earn on average 17 times that with earnings coming in at just shy of 2 Million.
But not all schools award athletic scholarships. Players at Harvard pay $63,025 for their tuition.
March Madness Brackets and Betting
You may be working on a bracket of your own soon, so here are some stats about how those play out.
In 2016, $9.2 Billion was wagered on the 2016 NCAA tournament. And it’s estimated that a further $8.9 Billion was wagered illegally.
Las Vegas casinos do very well during March Madness. They typically see about $100 Million in profit.
Fun Fact: in 2016, 70 million tournament brackets were completed. 129 million people cast ballots in the presidential election. So over half the number of voters filled out basketball brackets. Considering there are approximately 324 Million people living in the US, that’s 1 out of every 4.5 people who filled out a bracket.
So what are your chances of filling out a perfect bracket? That would be 1 in 9,200,000,000,000,000,000. That’s some stiff competition! In fact, it’s easier to win back-to-back Mega Millions lotteries, buying one ticket both times, than it is to fill out a perfect bracket.
And since brackets are such a time-honored tradition, 81% of HR professionals say that their organizations don’t have policies addressing office pools.
March Madness on TV
CBS/Turner Broadcasting paid $19.6 Billion to acquire the rights to the 2011-2032 tv rights to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. That’s a big investment, but considering that the tournament’s value increases annually by 4,535%, I think that’s a pretty good return on investment.
TV ad revenue is great for them too. GM, AT&T and Capital One spent $213.3 Million on March Madness advertising in 2015. That’s the most among corporate sponsors. And the ad revenue continues to go up.
The average price of a 30-second ad during the title game in 2015 was $1.5 Million. That’s a lot, but less than the average during Super Bowl LI, which was $5 Million.
What it costs to attend the NCAA basketball tournament
In 2016, 703,854 fans attended the 36 sessions of the 2016 tournament. That’s down 5% from the 2015 figures.
It’s expensive to go. Not only do you have your travel, lodging, food and local transport costs, you have the costs of the tickets themselves too. The retail ticket price for an all-sessions pass for the 2017 Final Four is anywhere from $558 to $9,600. A single game ticket is $477.
Fueling the Fans
It’s difficult to mention basketball without also mentioning pizza and beer right?
We need extra beer in March because of March Madness. Most months, there are 14 million barrels of American beer produced. But for March, we have to bump that up to 17.5 Million barrels. That’s a lot of extra beer!
But the need for pizza and dessert also goes up during the tournament. But this is a little different – more fans order pizza and desserts when their team loses a game vs. when they win. There’s a 19% uptick in pizza orders and a 9% increase in dessert orders from the fans that cheered for the losing teams. It looks like comfort food is their consolation prize.
Some NCAA Basketball Tournament History
2017 will be the 79th year that the NCAA men’s basketball tournament has been held. It began in 1939.
UCLA has won the most championship titles. They have won 11 times – in 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1979, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1995. You may notice that for all of those years except for 1995, coaching legend John Wooden was head coach.
But, here comes the KY Wildcat fan. (I tried really hard to keep my bias out of this, but this is a firm statistic-it’s just mixed with a loud C-A-T-S Cats! Cats! Cats! cheer). The University of Kentucky has appeared 56 times in the NCAA basketball tournament. That’s the most of any school. We don’t call it a dynasty for nothing…
Get some more fun facts and March Madness Trivia at Wallet Hub
We would like to thank Wallet Hub for providing us with some great trivia and statistical tidbits for the upcoming tournament. If you would like to explore some more trivia as well as some Q and As with some experts, check out their special report.
Wallet Hub also has some great demographic information about how basketball fans stack up geographically. To find out how your city stacks up against your rivals, check out their 2017 Best and Worst Cities for College Basketball Fans report.