Can Kentucky go 40-0? Will a 16 seed finally take down one of the top dogs? Could the likes of North Florida or UC Irvine finally find their glass slipper? There are plenty of intriguing questions that remained to be answered as the 2014-15 NCAA Tournament approaches. And as March Madness grips fans across the country – burning billions of dollars in corporate productivity and inciting an estimated $12 billion in betting globally – plenty of eyeballs will be tuned into the action, perhaps explaining why plenty of sponsors have their wallets open as well.
Indeed, the corporate spectacle of March Madness would seem to belie the amateurism inherent to the event and underscore the disparity between the average student athlete’s annual compensation ($120K in tuition, room and board), and that of big-time college coaches ($5M+) and NBA rookies ($1.9M). The NCAA itself has also raked in billions of dollars in television rights fees, ticket proceeds and merchandise sales, and CBS racks up more than a billion dollars in ad revenue each year. Perhaps that is why calls to pay college athletes are growing louder. At least it’s something to consider as you watch the action this year.
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