Unhidden Figures: March Madness Means More Beer, Pizza, $150M Economic Impact
Monday, March 6, 2017 at 09:47PM
NYSportsJournalism.com in Final Four, First Four, March Madness, March Madness, NCAA, Wallethub, sports marketing

By Barry Janoff

March 6, 2017: By the numbers, the NCAA Div. I Men’s Basketball Tournament runs from the First Four on March 14-15 through the Final Four on April 1 and championship game on April 3, with 68 teams and some 900 players seeking to become this year’s real deal or Cinderella.

But the numbers can be drilled down much farther.

This year, with the Final Four and title games in the University of Phoenix Stadium, the city is projected to realize an economic impact of $100-$150 million, according to financial, credit score and consulting e-firm WalletHub, a division of Evolution Finance, Washington DC.

According to WalletHub, there will be some 125,000 visitors descending on Phoenix, expected to spend an average of $2,100 each on such items as lodging, food and transportation.

The economic impact on Dayton, Ohio, home to the First Four, has reached an estimated $70 million since 2001, according to the Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau.

By comparison, in 2012, with the March Madness Final Four games tha took place in the Mercedes-Benz SuperDome, New Orleans realized an economic impact of $135 million, according to the New Orleans Visitors and Convention Bureau.

In 2013, Atlanta hosted the Final Four and had an economic impact of about $70 million, according to the Atlanta Local Organizing Committee. In 2014, in Dallas, the economic impact was put at $183 million and an additional $56 million in Arlington, home to Final Four venue AT&T Stadium, according to the North Texas Local Organizing Committee.

In 2015 in Indianapolis, the impact from hosting the Final Four was about $71 million; and in 2016 in Houston, which hosted the 2016 Final Four, the city had an economic impact of about $150 million, according to the respective city’s organizing committees.

The average price of a single-game ticket to the Final Four this year is $477, but resale prices may go from between $9,600 for court-level seats to $558 for upper levels.

Meanwhile, 81% of human resource pros say their company has no policy in addressing office pools and the completion of brackets, perhaps not such a good thing as some $4 billion will be lost at the corporate level due to "unproductive workers during March Madness," said WalletHub.

There were 70 million tournament brackets completed regarding the men’s basketball tournament last year. Odds of filling out a perfect bracket: One in 9,200,000,000,000,000,000.

In keeping with odds and March Madness, an estimated $9.2 billion was wagered on 2016 Tournament games — some $8.9 billion of it illegally, per WalletHub.

Some categories should, as usual, benefit from March Madness.

An average of 14 million barrels of beer are produced monthly — except for March when WalletHub reports that 17.5 million barrels are produced.

The sales of pizza and desserts also goes up, most significantly among fans of teams that have lost their March Madness games: a 19% increase in pizza and a 9% increase in desserts.

Concurrently, while they are eating and watching games on TV on CBS and on Turner Sports’ three cable stations, TBS, TNT and truTV, fans are multi-taking.

Last year, while an average of 17.8 million watched the title game on TBS, TNT and truTV, there were 56 million combined impressions generated on Twitter and Facebook during the National Championship game in which Villanova defeated North Carolina, 77-74.

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