Here’s How Much Americans Will Bet on March Madness
Business + Economy

Here’s How Much Americans Will Bet on March Madness

There’s a lot more riding on Selection Sunday than just which 68 teams will get to compete for the 2015 NCAA college basketball championship — including, quite possibly, your pride and money.

Nearly 40 million Americans will fill out March Madness brackets this year, according to a new survey by the American Gaming Association. The survey found that Americans will bet $2 billion through the brackets, and a whopping $9 billion on total March Madness bets. The survey found that half of all March Madness viewers have filled out a bracket at some point in their lifetime.

Related: Six Ways to Bring Sanity to Your March Madness Picks

This year, Americans are expected to fill out a total of 70 million brackets, betting an average $29 each. The odds of making a perfect bracket this year: one in 9.2 quintillion, according to an analysis by a DePaul University mathematician.

Bookies aren’t the only ones making money off the college basketball juggernaut: More than 90 percent of the National College Athletic Association’s $800 million annual revenue comes from the tournament and its associated licensing deals. Last year, Americans collectively spent an estimated 664 million hours or 75.7 thousand years watching the games.

The big financial losers in March Madness: Employers. Companies are out $1.9 billion in lost wages to distracted and unproductive workers, estimates employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

It may be even easier for employees to watch the games this year and tune out of work. The NCAA has announced a new YouTube channel, which will offer updates and information, although viewers will need a pay TV subscription to watch full games online.

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