March Madness - Economic Impact

By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek

March 22, 2013

For the third consecutive year, the NCAA held the “First Four” play-in games at University of Dayton Arena. The combination of the “First Four,” plus hosting second and third round games, is expected to generate $8 million for the Dayton economy.

This year’s Final Four takes place April 6-8 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Officials expect 100,000 people to visit the city from out of town, staying in an estimated 10,000 hotel rooms and bringing $70 million in economic impact.

How far has the tournament come? When Jim Valvano’s North Carolina State Wolfpack won the national championship 30 years ago, the Final Four was played at University Arena in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which had just 18,000 seats. These days, the only venues considered to host the Final Four are massive indoor NFL stadiums.

Nike continues to win the apparel war, as its affiliated brands sponsor 52 of the 68 tournament teams. Thirteen schools, including three of the four number one seeds, are outfitted by adidas.

And now for the bad news: the first two days of March Madness cost businesses $134 million in lost productivity, according to the firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. An estimated three million employees will spend three hours watching the games at work.

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