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The Business Behind the NCAA's Money-Making March Madness Tournament

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Welcome to the latest episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research. On this week’s episode, we take a look at the multibillion-dollar business that drives NCAA March Madness after a wild opening weekend for the college basketball tournament.

A No. 1 seed lost to a No. 16 seed for the first time ever, big brand name schools busted brackets early, and ratings jumped accordingly. But what might be more fascinating than the craziness on the court is the mind-boggling money that is generated during the event.

CBS (CBS - Free Report) and Time Warner’s (TWX - Free Report) Turner bet big on the long-term viability of March Madness, committing billions of dollars to broadcast the tournament through 2032. The two media companies broadcast and stream all of the games across an array of networks, and the deal will see them retain the broadcasting rights no matter how fans consume games in the future.

On top of these broadcast fees, the NCAA makes millions from tickets and marketing deals. Capital One (COF - Free Report) , AT&T (T - Free Report) , and Coca-Cola (KO - Free Report) remain the tournament’s biggest sponsors this year. Meanwhile, companies like Pizza Hut (YUM - Free Report) and Lowe’s (LOW - Free Report) will be ever present over the next few weeks, while Google (GOOGL - Free Report) debuted the first advertising campaign for its cloud computing products as part of a new multiyear NCAA partnership.

The players themselves will also act as walking, talking, and dunking billboards for Nike (NKE - Free Report) , Adidas (ADDYY - Free Report) , and Under Armour (UAA - Free Report) . And that is just the start of the major money that fuels March Madness. Check out the show to hear more!

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