March Madness: A Business Cycle


Madness has returned to the sports world.

The NCAA Tournament is a phenomenon to basketball fans everywhere. They anticipate the chance to pull out their alumni sports gear, purchase game tickets and most importantly predict who will win it all.

“Bracket Mania” is arguably the main ingredient to March Madness. Every year college hoops fans fill out a bracket of how they believe the tournament will play out. They show their friends, argue with their coworkers about it and hold friendly office pools to keep it interesting.

Courtesy: Getty Images

How does the Madness affect workplaces across the United States?

According to USA Today, businesses will lose $1.9 billion dollars in productivity due to the amount of time workers spend creating their brackets and watching the games that are typically played during work hours online.  NPR has even suggested that businesses can lose up to $134 million dollars in just the first two days of the tournament. Adrian Jackson, Howard County Planner Technician and Salisbury University alum, said the madness is all he has been hearing about at the office.

“I know everyone here has filled out a bracket and is talking about doing a pool,” Jackson said. “They’re ready to watch from their computers, iPad and everything.”


Despite the productivity loss due to “bracketologists” at offices everywhere, there are economic upsides to the tournament. In March, television networks make money from advertisers who spend $1.15 billion on ads. Just like during the Super Bowl, expect to see new commercials airing throughout the month.

Local businesses around UMD are also expecting a slight increase in sales because of the tournament. Lee Marshall, general manager of Bobby’s Burger Palace, said he thinks the restaurant will be busier on big game days.

“I know when it gets down to the final games, we usually have a line out the door,” Marshall said. “I’m not sure how the other (neighboring) businesses do, but Bobby’s Burger Palace definitely sees a bit more revenue around this time.”

The college hoops season is good for fans, which makes it good for networks, advertisers, and venues. We probably can’t say the same for employers since those fans happen to also be their employees. Oops!

This is the the last flame of a dwindling basketball season. Bring out the pens, put on the foam fingers and plant yourself in front of a screen. Buckle up and return your tray to the upright position until April 6.

Welcome to March Madness.


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