The Improbable Odds of a Perfect Bracket and More on March Madness | Sports Destination Management

The Improbable Odds of a Perfect Bracket and More on March Madness

Mar 10, 2022 | By: Mary Helen Sprecher
Photo © Steven White |

It’s time for watch parties, office bracket challenges and screaming until one of your lungs flies out and lands on the bar in front of you. In short, March Madness is back. And with selection weekend in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to crunch some numbers along with all those wings and chips. Here are some of the best to carry us through the next few weeks.

67: The total number of games to be played

The following numbers courtesy of Statistica:

36.7 Million: About how many people will fill in a bracket

47.4 Million: How many people will place bets on the outcomes of games

10.5 Million: Average number of tournament TV viewers

16.9 Million: Average number of championship game viewers

These numbers came from our friends at WalletHub:

$1.16 Billion: Annual revenue for the NCAA in 2021, more than double the amount earned in 2020 and topping pre-pandemic revenues ($1.12 Billion).

$8.1 Million: Salary for college basketball’s highest paid coach, Kentucky’s John Calipari (vs. $1.2M combined for University of Kentucky’s president and the state’s governor).

$2.7 Million: NCAA president Mark Emmert’s salary

46X: Difference between the average NBA rookie’s salary ($3.3M) and a DI men’s athlete basketball scholarship for a year ($71.4K).

$10 Billion: Estimated amount wagered on the 2022 NCAA tournament (roughly 30 percent more than the amount wagered on Super Bowl).

$4 Billion: Estimated to be wagered illegally on NCAA games

38 Percent: People who weren’t sure, after filling in brackets, whether it was legal

$200 Million: Estimated economic impact on New Orleans from March Madness 2022.

$334.2 Million: Estimated value of the University of Kentucky basketball program — highest among all schools (generating a three-year average profit of $29.7M)

$169.4 Million: NCAA’s basketball fund’s 2022 distribution to DI schools.

$0: Amount of money the NCAA pays the players participating in the tournament.

73,432: Caesars Superdome Stadium’s capacity for Final Four 2022 (full capacity).

14: Cities scheduled to host March Madness events

12+: College basketball programs are involved in a corruption case regarding payment to players

19 Percent: Increase in beer sales during March Madness

19 Percent: Increase in pizza sales after losses vs. wins

23 Percent: Increase in chicken wings ordered

19,500: The number of wings the NCAA delivered to players in a single night in 2021

1 in 92 Quintillion: Odds of having a perfect bracket with no prior knowledge of basketball (you’re statistically more likely to be killed by a vending machine, or to be more cheerful, more likely to hit four holes-in-one in a single round of golf).

1 in 120.2 billion: Odds of having a perfect bracket with a knowledge of basketball (roughly equivalent to the likelihood you’ll be struck by lightning, win the lottery and have quintuplets)

ESPN tells us the following:

108: The number of perfect brackets remaining after the first day of March Madness in 2021 (this was out of 15 million brackets that were filled out). Remember how number-15 Oral Roberts University upset number 2 Ohio State? That was the reason.

And the following statistic is courtesy of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

$2.16 Billion: Lost wages resulting from the possibility of 48 percent of all workers, or 72,114,000 people, spending at least one hour of one workday on March Madness activities ([150,239,000 X .48] X $30.01)

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