March does not only signify the start of spring, but it also marks the start of the popular college basketball tournament known as March Madness.
Being a big basketball fan, March Madness is my favorite time of year because college basketball is very enjoyable.
The reason why is that since these student-athletes are not getting paid like their NBA counter parts, they play for the love of the game, which results in great games for the most part.
Even people who do not consider themselves basketball fans watch these games for the entertainment factor or because they filled out a bracket in hopes of winning some money, otherwise known as gambling.
Having people fill out brackets connects more people to the tournament the way fantasy football connects fans to the NFL. Many people are part of bracket challenges between friends and family or on the national stage.
In particular, gamblers can participate in ESPN’s perfect bracket challenge where if someone creates the perfect bracket, they win $1 million, but the odds are extremely low.
When it comes to making the perfect bracket just take my advice, save your money and stress and just do not fill out a bracket.
What makes it so difficult to create a successful bracket is that there are many upsets where lower seeds defeat higher seeds, which shows how competitive the tournament is and adds value to the entertainment factor.
Despite the excitement around the tournament, there are some issues that have not been really addressed that should.
The biggest issue is that the NCAA generates millions upon millions of dollars through the tournament alone, but where does all that money go?
The NCAA has had its fair share of money problems, so the question of where all the money goes is a fair one to ask. According to Econlife.com, in the 2014 March Madness tournament, 81 percent of the revenue came from TV and marketing rights, while another 11 percent comes from sales of tickets and merchandise.
It is not surprising that group gets the bulk of the money because there are four different stations that carry the games: CBS, TNT, TBS, and TruTv, with CBS carrying the more viewed rounds which are the elite eight, final four and National Championship game.
Since the tournament gains millions of viewers from people of all ages, it is a keen opportunity for businesses to cough up millions of dollars to get their product seen by millions. Also, since the tournament has been going on for decades, certain companies like Coca-Cola and, more recently, Dove for Men have advertised their products for the last couple of years.
Another issue is the student-athletes themselves. It is a great opportunity for players to represent their school by playing their favorite sport on the biggest stage because frankly, it does not get much better than that.
That also means that the student-athletes are missing tons of class and although there is not much information out about that, it makes you wonder if they get excused, do homework while in the tournament or just make it all up depending on how far their school goes in the tournament?
One thing that is not an issue is the excitement factor that the games create. Having your school’s game watched by millions of people through cable and streaming apps must be a really cool feeling for the student-athletes competing on this stage.
Playing in the NCAA tournament, at the division I level is often a dream of every kid growing up dreaming about playing basketball for a living.
With that being said, sit back, relax and watch these young men do what they love to and happen to be really good at, and that is playing basketball.