The NCAA wants more Madness

If the tournament field expands to 96 teams, perfect brackets may become a relic of the past.

Every year in March, millions of fans attempt to craft the perfect bracket, and the NCAA gets to make ~$1B.

But soon, a perfect bracket may be even harder to crack and the NCAA may get even richer, as the organization is considering expanding its basketball tournaments, per Axios.

March Madness…

… currently includes 68 teams, but a proposed plan could increase the field to 96. Opinions vary among college coaches:

  • Miami’s Jim Larrañaga and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim favor the idea, believing it could give more teams more opportunity.
  • Others, like Virginia’s Tony Bennett, think expansion could lead to the tournament losing its luster.

If it happens…

… the NCAA would join several professional and amateur sports leagues that have added games in recent years, including:

  • The FBS, which introduced a four-team college football playoff in 2014.
  • The NFL, which increased its regular season from 16 to 17 games in 2021.
  • The NBA, which launched a play-in tournament for the seventh through 10th seeds in 2021.
  • The MLB, which expanded its wild card format from one game to a three-game series this season.

While expanding the tournament would objectively offer more opportunity, it’s hard to overlook the NCAA’s financial motives.

The tournament accounts for 85%+ of the association’s annual revenue, and every added game is another chance to milk the cash cow.

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