March Madness Host Cities Don't Cash In as Much as You May Think - Zing BlogBig time sporting events bring in big time money. The host cities of the World Series typically bring in a combined $60 million while the city that hosts the Super Bowl can bring in upwards of $150 million. March Madness is getting underway, which got me to thinking about cities that host different rounds of the NCAA Tournament. There are 11 host cities for the 2013 tournament. Any idea how much money individual host cities can expect to make off the tournament games?

Let’s take a look at schedule and host cities of this year’s tournament:

  • The first round is scheduled for March 19-20 at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, OH.
  • The second and third rounds are spread out between March 21-24. Games scheduled for the 21 and 23 are to be played at The Palace of Auburn Hills (Auburn Hills, MI), Rupp Arena (Lexington, KY), EnergySolutions Arena (Salt Lake City, UT) and HP Pavilion (San Jose, CA). Games scheduled for the 22 and 24 are to be played at (Frank Erwin Center (Austin, TX), University of Dayton Arena, Sprint Center (Kansas City, MO) and Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia, PA).
  • The East Regional is scheduled for March 28 and 30 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
  • The West Regional is scheduled for March 28 and 30 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.
  • The Midwest Regional is scheduled for March 29 and 31 and Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX.
  • The National Semifinals are to be played April 6 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.
  • The Championship game is April 8, also to be played at the Georgia Dome.

So how much money does each of these cities tend to profit for hosting such notable games? The answer, according to a study done by the Department of Economics at the College of Holy Cross, is not much. In fact, cities that go all out trying to earn the accolade of being a host city could end up losing money.

“The economic impact for host cities for the year the event is hosted is on average small and negative for the NCAA Men’s Final Four…The sum of the evidence indicates that cities ought to exercise restraint in undertaking public spending to host the NCAA Final Four,” said Victor Matheson and Robert Baade, who worked on the study.

You’re probably confused as to how host cities of one of the most popular sporting events in the U.S. could actually lose money, right? Well, consider the fact that putting on such a big event costs the city a lot of money. Some extra costs include hiring people to clean up the city by picking up trash. Other additional costs include making improvements to parking structures and buildings that will be used. Extra security is also needed.

Another factor that needs to be noted is that local residents of host cities tend to spend less money in the city during tournament games, opting instead to avoid the crowds. Combine the two, and the net profit is minimal at best.

Sporting events such as the Super Bowl and World Series bring in millions of dollars. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, however, doesn’t provide the same economic impact. Would you want your home city to spend the millions of dollars it costs to host a city? Let us know in the comments below!


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  1. Yes. Little Rock would be a great place to host a round. It has the hotel accommodations. Plenty of restaurants. Easy to do activities like trails, hike, bike, movies and museums. Host cities have to figure out how to make money. Livin up the place for sure. Attract fans!!!

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