NCAA March Madness Handle Will Go Over $12.1 Billion

H2 Gambling Capital forecasts that this year’s edition of National Collegiate Athletics Association’s (NCAA) so-called “March Madness” will result in a $12.1 billion handle in sports wagers!

The tournament begins on March 19th and will last for nineteen days, with the finals to be held on April 8th at Minneapolis’ Bank Stadium. It has been broadcast since 1969 and is one of the most important events in USA’s sports calendar.

College Basketball is Highly Valued

To many outsiders who reside elsewhere, the fact that NCAA’s Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament that is played in March every year is America’s most popular and televised sporting event could surely come as a surprise.

After all, it’s college basketball, not the professional outlet such as the NBA. Still, this display of talent and future stars manages to attract millions of viewers and fans nation-wide.

Some shockwaves are expected to be sent this year…

…as around 25 million TV viewers will be watching the tournament’s final and 730,000 fans attending the games which will generate the ticket selling revenue of $160 million.

A Lucrative Broadcasting and Advertising Business

Broadcasters who have acquired television rights for the NCAA Final Tournament will be paying an average of $890 million in order to broadcast the games. Four TV companies have these broadcast rights: TBS, CBS, TNA and TruTV.

Annual advertising income rakes in around $1.42 billion…

…while it is suffice to say that sports betting, that was liberated in May last year, will play a significant role in this year’s counting of figures once March Madness is over and done.

Sports Betting in Seventh Heaven

This will be the first March Madness edition that will accompany the nation-wide wagering on the outcome of its games – at least in states where this is now legal.

However, despite the undeniable fact that this event will arouse a massive betting interest in the US

…H2 estimates that only around $798.6 million of a total $12.1 billion in amounts wagered (which is 6.6%) will come from legal spots where betting is regulated.

For instance, in 2017 in Nevada (which was then the only US state with regulated sports betting) only 2.9% of bets were made via legal channels.

Bigger Than the Super Bowl

Of course, total gross revenue depends on the outcome of games and how well bettors have fared with their predictions…

…but the margin for the NCAA event is expected to be as high as $1.1 billion. Handle per game will also increase to about $11.9 million, which is an incomparable rise compared to Division 1 regular season’s $90,000 per game.

Looking at March Madness handle…

…one might get the impression that this event is even bigger than the Super Bowl, although that comparison is unfair because Super Bowl is just one game that wraps up the entire NFL season. The total handle of this year’s Super Bowl, won by the New England patriots, was $6 billion with only 5% of that wagered in regulated markets.


“H2: March Madness handle to reach $12.1bn in 2019”,, March 12, 2019.

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