Financially Speaking, March Madness Can’t Top the World Cup


March Madness begins on March 15th. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for this year’s tournament to kick off. Ever since Duke topped Wisconsin to close out last year’s championship, I and many of you, have clamored for it to start all over again.

Not many other sporting events match up to March Madness. In fact, only a few global events come to mind. When it comes to American viewership, March Madness is joined by the only the Super Bowl, Olympics and World Cup as sizable events that consume viewers in many ways. This got me wondering which event reigned supreme financially.

Thanks to Analee Kasudia and Fortune, I found a helpful infographic (below) that broke down all the 2014 events, except for the Olympics (for some financial figures from the Sochi games, click here).

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the biggest global event, the World Cup, generated the highest numbers from viewership (1 billion) to ticket prices for the final match ($7,066). Even when it came to a loss in employee productivity, the sport of the people’s ultimate event trumped all with $1.7 billion lost over the 2014 installment.

What might surprise you is March Madness’ financial gains as well. Over the 12 days of games (compared to the World Cup’s 32), March Madness raked in $9 billion in betting totals, $1.13 billion in ad revenue and boasted an average ticket price of $1,800 for the final game. Similar to the World Cup, March Madness cost companies $1.2 billion in lost worker productivity over its time.

In just one night, the Super Bowl held its own with $360 million in ad revenue, 114.4 million viewers (on 20 million for March Madness) and $3.9 billion in betting totals. Seeing as how many Americans pine for the day after the Super Bowl to be a national holiday, it should come as no surprise that the event costs companies $8.4 million in lost productivity the next day.

These figures didn’t present too many surprises, but it’s interesting to see where things shaped up during the last round of these events. How will they fare in 2018? Most likely, the positions will remain the same while the figures continue to trend upward as the world takes notice.

March Madness  the Super Bowl  World Cup  Which makes most money    Fortune