March Madness is behind us, and already people are looking forward to the Final Four Basketball Tournament in Minneapolis in 2019.
On Monday, I was interviewed on CNN International about the economic impact the Final Four has on the cities that host the event.
A video of the complete interview can be seen below, but some of the key facts are startling — $135 million in economic impact for the host city of San Antonio; 71,000 fans visiting the city for the event; and $100 million in profits for Las Vegas casinos that make money from the bets wagered.
Speaking of bets, do you know what the odds are of filling out a perfect bracket for March Madness?
According to WalletHub, the odds of a perfect bracket are one in 9.2 quintillion, which means it would be easier to win back-to-back lotteries, buying one ticket each time, than it would be to fill out a perfect bracket.
What kind of impact does March Madness have on other aspects of the U.S. economy? WalletHub reports that there’s a 24% increase in chicken wing orders during the tournament; a 9% increase in dessert orders when a team loses; and a 19% increase in pizza orders when a team loses.
The host city for the Final Four isn’t the only city to benefit from March Madness. Dayton, Ohio has been home to the “First Four” for the last several years and has seen nearly $80 million poured into its local economy since 2001.
For a snapshot of the cities that benefit most from March Madness, check out the graphic below from WalletHub.
Still interested in learning more? Here are some additional data points about the Tournament:
- Hotels, restaurants, and bars aren’t the only beneficiaries of the Final Four. The Tournament has made millionaires out of many of the coaches who lead their teams to success.
- The average single game ticket for the Tournament costs about $212.
- About 1.3 million extra barrels of beer are produced in the month of March to keep up with increased demand.
- Not everybody thinks the Final Four is an economic boon for the host city. Joshua A. Price, who is an Assistant Professor of Economics and Finance at Southern Utah University says, “the economic impact is non-existent.”
- E. F. Stephenson, who is a Professor of Economics at Berry College says, “the economic impact of sports events is oversold by overstating the benefits and ignoring the costs” of hosting the events.
- And Donald Alexander, who is a Professor of Economics at Western Michigan University says, “Like any other mega event, there’s very little impact — (these are) well-established results in sports economics.
- All that said, it’s important to note that for every expert who says there’s little impact, you can find an expert who says there’s a great deal of impact.
The bottom line: Despite the variety of opinions experts have about the financial impact of the Final Four, it would be hard to find a city that wouldn’t want to host the event.
When tens of thousands of people visit a city and (presumably) have a good time, they share those sentiments with their friends back home.
Over the long run, this helps improve the city’s brand image; it helps attract more tourists; and it helps attract businesses that might move to the city. So my point-of-view is that the economic impact is somewhat over-stated, but can be good for the city as long as the city keeps the expenses of hosting the event in check.
If you’re interested in learning more about March Madness and how it impacts the Final Four host city (and the cities that host the rest of the tournament), check out my CNN interview below.
About the Author: Jamie Turner is an internationally-recognized author, speaker, and CEO. You’ll find him on the 60 Second Marketer and as an expert commentator on network TV. He is also the founder of SIXTY, a marketing consultancy and advisory firm that helps clients get more bang for their marketing buck.