By Jim Pomeranz
March 17 kicks off three weekends of nonstop hype, carousing and advertising, mixed in with a little basketball. Here are some things to know about March Madness, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
$100 MILLION IN LOST PRODUCTIVITY IN THE FIRST WEEK
About a third of North Carolina workers will pay close attention to the tournament in the event’s first week, costing lost productivity of at least $100 million, according to Andrew Challenger, vice president of Chicago-based HR consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Based on TV viewership and average wage data, he calls it a nonscientific calculation that “would not pass muster anywhere within Research Triangle Park.”
WHAT ARE THE ODDS
Will North Carolina or Duke win it all? Early February odds of a Blue Devil victory were 9 to 1, while the Tar Heels were at 10 to 1, says Vegasinsider.com and sportsbook.ag. The favorite is Kentucky at 15 to 2, while Kansas and UCLA were at 8 to 1.
VIVA LAS VEGAS
More than $240 million is expected to be bet on March Madness in Las Vegas, trouncing the $140 million wagered on the recent Super Bowl. As of mid-February, last-minute fares between North Carolina’s two big airports and Nevada cost as much as $1,700.
CLICKS PICK UP
WRAL.com sees a 50% increase in page views and unique visitors during the first week of the tournament, says Aaron Schoonmaker, senior sports web editor. The Raleigh-based division of Capitol Broadcasting Co. averages 90 million page views per month.
GREENSBORO YIELDS TO GREENVILLE
House Bill 2 led the NCAA to move first- and second-round games from Greensboro Coliseum (22,000 seats) to Bon Secours Wellness Arena (14,900 seats) in Greenville, S.C. It’s the third time March Madness games have been played in the Palmetto State. North Carolina has hosted 58 tournament rounds.
FACE TIME FOR MIKE & ROY
Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski has coached 117 games in 33 tournaments. At two hours per game, that equals almost 10 days. UNC’s Roy Williams has coached 94 games in 27 tournaments, or almost eight days.
2016-17 Salaries of some prominent – and less prominent — men’s basketball coaches
|Mike Krzyzewski, Duke||$7.3 million|
|John Calipari, Kentucky||$6.8 million|
|Rick Pitino, Louisville||$6.0 million|
|Mark Gottfried, N.C. State||$2.5 million|
|Roy Williams, UNC Chapel Hill||$1.9 million|
|Kevin Keatts, UNC Wilmington||$371,000|
|Nick McDevitt, UNC Asheville||$126,420|
Does not include all endorsement deals
Sources: USA Today/BoydsBets/N.C. State University
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