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Billions of dollars spent in March Madness
Although March Madness is a great way for friends to compete against each other, billions of dollars are won and lost by universities, companies and individuals each year trying to find the perfect bracket. - photo by Matthew Jelalian
March Madness is upon us again, and most people talking about it are focused on their brackets.

However, one thing that many probably won't be placing bets on is which schools are the biggest spenders in hopes of winning it all during March Madness.

The national title winner in three out of five of the college basketball seasons since 2010 has been either the first, second or third biggest spender in men's college basketball, according to an analysis of the U.S. Department of Education's Equality in Athletics data, reported the Memphis Business Journal.

The more money a school spends does increase the likelihood of getting further into the tournament, according to the journal's story, but big spending does have its limits.

When spending rank is applied to the last five seasons of Final Four teams, the top 25 spenders in college basketball accounted for 65 percent of those Final Four teams. If limited to the top 10 biggest spenders, a bit under 50 percent of teams that made the final games were in that group (nine out of 20).

CNNMoney reported that many universities also make a lot of money from March Madness. And its not necessarily the universities that spend a lot of money on their programs.

The top-earning men's college basketball team is actually the (Kentucky) Wildcats' in-state rivals, the Louisville Cardinals, reported CNNMoney. That team posted $24 million in profits on revenue of about $40 million during the 2013-2014 school year, based on a CNNMoney analysis of figures filed with the U.S. Department of Education.

CNNMoney also wrote that Kentucky made $7.5 million in comparison despite being one of the best teams in the country.

Fans are also getting in on the spending.

Bloomberg News reported that 40 million people would gamble an estimated $9 billion this month.

Bloomberg compared ones chances of having a winning March Madness bracket to winning the lottery. In another Bloomberg News interview, David College associate professor Tim Chartie said that one has a 1-in-9 quintillion chance of picking the correct winner in every game of a bracket.

Other companies and advertisers make billions every year off of March Madness as well. MarketPlace podcast reported that TV ad revenue exceeded $1 billion. Which means the companies paying for those ads must be making enough off the ads to justify paying for those ads.

Some of those companies are even willing to gamble large sums of money in order to make even more.

Every year, Quicken Loans, Warren Buffett's Berkshire-Hathaway and Yahoo have sponsored a $1 billion reward for anyone who could get a perfect bracket. CNNMoney reported that all three companies thought the chances of someone winning were so low it was worth the financial risk for the sake of free publicity.

The free contest was all but impossible to win, making it a safe bet for Berkshire, which would have had to pay out the prize money, reported CNN Money.
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