March Madness is one of the biggest times of the year for college sports. Sixty-eight of the best college basketball teams compete in a single-elimination tournament to determine a national champion.
Fans passionately show support for their favorite college team and fill out brackets to pick the winner of each game in an attempt to secure the first perfect March Madness bracket in the history of the tournament.
Even if you are not a huge fan of college basketball, the level of competitiveness and intensity each game brings in the form of buzzer beaters and upsets is exactly why the name “March Madness” is so fitting for this tournament.
Unfortunately, it is possible that this year’s tournament may not have fans in the stands due to the coronavirus outbreak. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) assembled a medical advisory group and is speaking with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention daily to determine the best course of action as the tournament approaches.
Viewership for last year’s championship game between Texas Tech and Virginia increased by 23% compared to 2018. In 2019, the NCAA generated $933 million in revenue from media rights fees, tickets sold, sponsorships, and TV ads centered around this jam-packed event.
With March Madness accounting for more than 80% of the NCAA’s annual revenue, this will greatly impact corporations that are planning to sponsor or advertise during the event.
As a precautionary measure, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore won’t allow fans at NCAA Division III tournament games. Maryland reported three confirmed cases of the coronavirus yesterday. Stanford also announced they are limiting public attendance to sporting events on campus to a third of the venue’s capacity through April 15 with the emerging threat of the coronavirus.
Right now, the tournament is still scheduled to take place. With only 11 more days until the tournament, we will anxiously await a final decision from the NCAA as the coronavirus outbreak continues to be monitored carefully.