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Bracket Bucks: Conferences Eye $260M Payday, Tournament Glory

Mar 18, 2024

March Madness officially begins Tuesday when the First Four of the men’s NCAA tournament tips off in Dayton, with 104 men’s and women’s games playing out across the country over the next week. Of note this year: The Big 12 and SEC have more teams in the men’s tournament than any other conference, putting them in prime position for a big payday, thanks to an NCAA unit system that rewards success in March.

The NCAA, which brings in some $900 million in annual media rights fees from CBS and Warner Bros. Discovery, allocates payment units to all 32 conferences that compete in the men’s tournament, with additional units handed out for at-large bids, and any schools advancing to subsequent rounds up until the Final Four. In recent seasons the unit value has been about $2 million each, according to multiple reports, and they are paid out to conferences over six years. In total, 132 units (worth, one can guess, at least $264 million) will be handed out, meaning that about $128 million should still be up for grabs via the 64 available units this month, in addition to the $136 million already set for the 68 tournament teams.

Source: Front Office Sports

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