For an entire month, March Madness captures the attention of basketball fans across the country. As fans hang onto the edge of their seats to watch buzzer beaters, root for underdogs, and follow the latest Cinderella story, the NCAA cashes in big with one of the most profitable TV deals in sports. Conferences with teams participating in March Madness are also rewarded, based on their performance on the hardwood. Below, we’ll break down which basketball conference made the most money during March Madness and how much each March Madness win is worth, according to the NCAA.
Which NCAA Conference Earned the Most Money During March Madness?
In what was widely considered a down year for ACC basketball, the conference sent five teams to the NCAA Tournament. Two of those teams, Duke and North Carolina, will play each other in the Final Four, ensuring at least one ACC team will make the National Championship Game.
The NCAA disburses money to each of the conferences annually, based on how many March Madness games that teams play before the NCAA Tournament Finals. ACC teams will play in 18 of those games, which translates to roughly $36.4 million paid out to the conference in installments through 2028.
Though none of its teams advanced past the Sweet 16, the Big Ten will also earn $36.4 million from this year’s March Madness tournament. Nine Big Ten teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament, proving that there is more than one way for leagues to earn a considerable amount of money during March Madness.
How Are March Madness Wins Worth According to the NCAA?
March Madness is a big moneymaker, both for the NCAA and the top online sportsbooks. However, the NCAA Tournament can also prove to be lucrative for conferences as a whole. That’s because the NCAA bases part of its annual distribution on how a conference and its teams perform during March Madness.
To simplify matters, each win in the NCAA Tournament win is worth one unit, until the National Championship Game. Based on the number of units earned during March Madness, the NCAA hands out payments to each conference over the next six years.
While the exact value of each NCAA Tournament win during March Madness won’t be determined until 2028, the NCAA’s revenue guidance provides some answers. According to reports, each win this year will be worth about $2.02 million.
Which Conferences Earned the Most Money During March Madness 2022?
While the ACC and Big Ten were among the biggest winners during the 2022 NCAA Tournament, a few other conferences also came away with big hauls. Thanks to Saint Peter’s, the MAAC will also earn a substantial amount of money from this year’s improbable March Madness run. In fact, the MAAC standings to gain about $8.1 million as a result of the Peacocks’ Elite Eight run.
Below, we’ll break down the NCAA Conferences that made the most money from March Madness in 2022:
- ACC — $36.4 million
- Big Ten — $36.4 million
- Big 12 — $34.3 million
- Big East — $26.3 million
- SEC — $22.2 million
- PAC-12 — $14.1 million
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