by Michael Villafana, PAW Writer

Will you be one of the 10.7 million people to watch March Madness this spring? That is how many viewers watched the NCAA college basketball playoff last year, also known as March Madness. This year, CBS and the Turner Networks, who own TNT, TBS, and TruTV, expect to top that number by possibly a million.

So will the Providence Academy student body be contributing to their viewer ratings? Senior Jesse Barron will definitely be watching. “I’ll probably watch 30 [games] or so. The only reason I don’t watch all of them is because I don’t get all the games on my TV”, Jesse said. Though he won’t watch as many as Jesse, Sophomore William Walcher will still find time to watch a couple games. “I might watch a few, but I am not a huge fan of basketball. It can be fun to watch though” William said.  However, not all PA students will be watching the games. Junior Rachel Mohrman classified herself in that category. “I don’t plan on watching any of the games” she stated.

March Madness has been a money making machine for the NCAA. In just television contracts alone, the NCAA makes roughly $770 Million per year according to Marc Edelman, a writer for Forbes Magazine. That number doesn’t even include ticket sales, merchandise or concessions. Commercial prices are also sky high. A 30 second commercial for the championship game were going for $1.42 million, according to viamediatv.com. At the end of March Madness, advertiser will have spent more on commercials for the college basketball tournament than they will have during the Super Bowl. Last year, 90 advertisers spent $1.152 billion in ads, just during the tournament itself.

In addition to televised games, live streaming the games via the internet has been on the rise as well. Viamediatv.com reported that 3.4 million people watched the games through their computer or tablet devices last year. This was up from 1.6 million the year before.

The NCAA is always finding new ways to increase their revenue. Just in the past couple of years, they have started televising every single game, added four play-in games, and increased the overall quality of the at home viewing experience. Just to make sure they cover all their bases, the NCAA also nationally televises its selection show this upcoming Sunday. So if you plan on having your eyes glued to a screen the next two weeks, you might want to watch the selection show to see where your favorite team is playing.

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