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NCAA and Money, March Madness


Should American companies allow their workers to use the workplace to watch the Thursday and Friday afternoon games in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. It’s a question that businesses are grappling with. You see, according to a company named Captivate, a business that monitors out of home media, the entire tournament will cost about $1.3 billion in workers’ productivity. Captivate has some rather interesting stats that backs up Americans obsession with major sports events.

Captivate claims more than half of business executives of the 784 people surveyed, 52 percent plan to watch the game while at the office. Captivate also claims that 22 percent will “secretly” watch it and somehow will not let their bosses know. Another 12 percent plan to take long lunch breaks to watch the games. Some 32% of those asked believe the March Madness games can be a boost for “office morale.” Nearly 40% will bet on the games with 34% saying they’ll spend $10 betting on their office bracket and 30% will spend $20. So it is very apparent that the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is a major entertainment special on TV. Apparently appointment TV and sponsors may throw about $1.3 billion the NCAA’s way so it is also very lucrative TV. That brings up an entirely different financial question. If this is such a valuable TV show or series of shows, why aren’t the players seeing a share of the action? The NCAA seemingly has no answer beyond the players are getting a scholarship and some mumbo jumbo about amateurism. Of course there is nothing amateur about a coach getting millions annually to lead the team.  There is nothing amateur about putting the games out to bid with cities competing with one another to land a few games of the tournament. There is a great deal of money shared by everyone except the one who provide the show, the players.

Republished with permission, Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.


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