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What you should know about the money in March Madness
Find out which coaches make millions, which teams can't make a dime, and just how likely you are to win that office bracket. - photo by Sam Turner
The time has come again.

Upsets will be had, champions will emerge, and for two weeks, madness will reign in offices from coast to coast.

But everyone knows that there's more to March Madness than losing your scrupulously wrought bracket to your seer-like cubicle mate who has never watched basketball in his life.

It's also about pitting college-age youths against each other in gladiator fashion while generating an enormous profit for universities, coaches and media companies.

Here are eight figures you should know about the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.


That's how much the University of Louisville Cardinals profited from their men's basketball team last year. According to, a website that tracks the earnings of college sports teams, Louisville has the most profitable team, bringing in $45,800,000 in revenues and paying $16,800,000 in expenses last year.

According to Forbes, Louisville's surge in profits came when it started playing at its new arena, the KFC Yum! Center, in 2010. With a capacity of 22,090, the third-highest capacity of college basketball arenas, the team's value increased by 40 percent in two years.


That's how much the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish loses each year from its men's basketball team. Notre Dame is the least profitable team, operating at a loss of $3 million. Surprisingly, many teams don't make a profit. According to ESPN, two-fifths of the teams in the 2014 March Madness tournament were operating in the red.

"There is some truth to the fact that our revenues are not comparable on a per-game basis with the Kentuckys and Louisvilles of the world," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told ESPN. "We don't sell commercial signage, we don't have suites and we don't serve alcohol. So we are limited by the choices we make."

1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808

These are the odds of choosing a perfect NCAA tournament bracket, according to Business Insider. In case you're not sure how to pronounce that obscenely large number, it's 9.2 quintillion.

This, of course, is based on filling out your bracket randomly, which isn't usually a good strategy but then again, it is March Madness.


The salary of the highest-paid NCAA basketball coach, John Calipari of the University of Kentucky. According to USA Today, he got almost a million-dollar raise last year. The average annual salary for an NCAA basketball coach is $1,679,275.

Besides their base pay, coaches also make bonuses. The highest maximum bonus of 2015 was $1,450,000, going to Tony Bennet of the University of Virginia. Virginia is the highest-seeded team in the Midwest Conference this year.


The salary of the highest-paid NCAA basketball player.

There has been much controversy over whether college athletes should be paid a salary. According to the Washington Post, the average college men's basketball player is worth $212,080.

College athletes do usually receive tuition waivers and living stipends, which can amount to as much as $65,000 a year. Money argues that offering a salary of $100,000 would actually disadvantage athletes because, unlike tuition, their income would be subject to taxes. After tax, tuition and living expenses, Money predicts that athletes would have $100 left at the end of the year. Nice.


This was the average cost of a 30-second advertisement during March Madness TV coverage in 2014, according to CBS. The total ad spending in 2014 was $1,134,000, but that amount has gone up consistently since 2009, so we can expect more spending this year.

Additionally, CBS reports that the NCAA grosses roughly $900 million selling the broadcast rights to the tournament.


The amount of money that will be gambled on the event this year. That number's up $200 million from last year.

According to CBS, some of this money will be bet through legal channels, but the majority of betting is done illegally.

The American Gaming Association estimates that 70 million bracket sheets will be filled out across the country, a number that exceeds the number of ballots that will be cast for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton in November's presidential election.


This is the estimated losses that American businesses will suffer due to the lack of productivity caused by March Madness.

NBC reports that 20 percent of American workers will participate in office pools this year, and many will be more concerned about monitoring their brackets or watching games than doing their work.

That being said, one financial firm told NBC that "efforts to suppress the 'madness' would most likely result in long-term damage to employee morale, loyalty and engagement that would far outweigh any short-term benefit to productivity."

So enjoy the tournament. Just make sure you're getting your work done too.
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