March means that 68 Division I men’s college basketball teams are trying to bring home a National Championship.
The 2016 National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s tournament was the association’s most-watched tournament in the last 22 years, according to Nielsen Co. New York City which measures viewership.
CBS and the three Turner networks, TBS, TNT and truTV, own tournament broadcast rights.
The contract runs through the year 2032 and provides average $1.1 billion per season to the association.
According to Nelsen, the average viewership for each game was 11.3 million.
All of the games can be streamed online for free. Nielsen estimated that 80.7 million people watched the live stream.
Companies who advertised during the tournament last year saw a 20 percent rise in revenues, according to the Business Times.
The Business Times estimates that last year’s tournament had $12 billion bet through sports books, office pools and illegal online sports betting.
It estimates that only $100 million of the $12 billion is gambled legally through sports books.
Last year, approximately $3 billion was bet in office pools. Office pools are where one fills out a bracket and turn in a fee for a chance to win.
Pitt-Johnstown student Pete Rhoades said that he likes to participate in bracket pools.
“It makes the games that much more interesting. A lot of people I know participate in them. I have about $50 on bracket pools,” Rhoades said.
A study done by Forbes magazine found that businesses in the United States lose approximately $4 billion on lower work productivity and lost work hours during the tournament.
Forbes also reported that 86 percent of fans either watch games at work or check their phone for scores.
Pitt-Johnstown student Rudy Gleixnor said that he sometimes watches the games during class.
“In the one class, my friend and I watched the games during class on our laptop. It is truly the best time of the year; the games are so interesting and you usually get some upsets that destroy people’s brackets,” Gleixnor said.
The odds of having a correct tournament bracket of the association are 1 in 9.2 quintillion.
According to ESPN last year there were 13.5 million brackets entered in the Tournament Challenge.
Warren Buffet offered his employees $1 million for a perfect bracket.