Student Voice


July 14, 2024


March Madness equals big profits for NCAA and schools

April 1, 2011

With all eyes glued to the television sets during the NCAA’s Division I Men’s Basketball tournament, it is easy to be caught up in the action and excitement of the games.  While flipping through channels, it is hard to find a station that is either not playing a game or showing a commercial that portrays a partnership with the NCAA. 

According to statistics published in the March 28 edition of Newsweek, the NCAA gets $185 million from sponsorships alone.  Just think of all the other outlets for revenues, which include, but are not limited to, tickets, merchandise and food consumed at or during the games.  According to Newsweek, it is estimated that 624 gallons of nacho cheese will be consumed at the Final Four in Houston.

The dollar amounts can be mind-boggling as the field of 68 teams is whittled down.  Just ask a man from Ohio who was slapped with a $16 million cable bill (Time Warner is working to solve the problem, but he stated, “all I wanted to do was watch March Madness).

The NCAA, the governing body for the tournament and student-athletes, has much to gain during the tournament. The NCAA recently signed a 14-year agreement with CBS worth $10.8 billion.  This contract went strictly for the right to broadcast the games on the airwaves. But what about the revenue that is generated from television or advertisements?  Where does that money go? 
Does this money go directly to the schools, or who is the true benefactor of the $122 billion that is spent over the 20 days of competition? (Research done by Lauren Streib of Newsweek)

According to the NCAA’s website, “The reality is that more than 96% of that money – which will be an average of $740 million each year – goes to the NCAA conferences and schools. “We put our money where our mission is,” said Jim Isch, the NCAA’s chief operating officer. “Supporting student-athletes so they can be successful in the classroom and in life.”

As a student-athlete myself, it is very refreshing to see that the students and the schools are the benefactors of the generated spending that is equal to Iceland’s GDP (Newsweek). With the dollars and business aspect of sports, it can be hard to remember why these events are happening in the first place. With the national talks of budget cuts to education and athletics, it is important that these opportunities for competition are not taken away at any level for any sport, because they give student-athletes opportunities that cannot be found in the classroom.

If there is one thing that can be taken from this message, it is that there are many opportunities to support student-athletes, and that the benefits come back in ways that you or I may not even think of.  Sure, it is exciting to cheer for the underdogs and to enjoy the competition for what it is.  But next time you turn on your television, or support your local team, know that you are helping a group of student-athletes
that are paving the way for the future.  And for that, we thank you.

Ashley Goettl is an alumna of UW-River Falls. She was editor of the Student Voice from fall semester 2011 to spring semester 2013.