Yesterday was “Selection Sunday,” which launches this year’s March Madness. That, of course, is the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. (You can see this year’s bracket, here.) The games begin TOMORROW, and the tournament runs up until the championship game on April 4th. Here are some fun facts about March Madness:
1. An estimated $10 billion will be wagered on March Madness games this year, which is about 30% more than the Super Bowl. $4 billion of that will be bet illegally.
2. The annual revenue for the NCAA last year was nearly $1.2 BILLION, and the NCAA distributes around $170 million of that to Division 1 schools.
3. College basketball’s highest paid coach is Kentucky’s John Calipari, who makes $8.1 million. And to the players, the NCAA shells out . . . $0. For what it’s worth, the average Division 1 men’s basketball scholarship is worth $71,400 . . . or about $17,850 per year.
4. Corporate bosses supposedly lose $13.8 billion due to “unproductive workers” during the tournament. The average worker spends six hours watching games.
5. Even people who AREN’T fans can become invested, if they do NCAA bracket pools at work or online. The odds of finishing with a PERFECT bracket . . . guessing all the games correctly . . . is 1-in-120 BILLION.
That’s assuming you know something about college basketball going in, and consider how the teams are seeded. If you’re a non-fan who just guesses based on something arbitrary like flipping a coin, the odds soar to 1-in-9.2 QUINTILLION.
6. 50 million people have participated in NCAA bracket pools.
7. According to WalletHub, there’s a 19% increase in beer sales during March Madness . . . and a 19% increase in pizza orders by fans after LOSSES versus WINS. Dessert orders also shoot up 9% for losing fans.
8. And for the sports nuts out there: The four #1 seeds are Gonzaga, Baylor, Arizona, and Kansas. This is the first time since seeding began in 1979 that the ACC only has one team among the top 4 seeds. That’s Duke, a #2 seed. And Gonzaga is a #1 seed for the 5th time ever . . . all of them since 2013.