2012 Brand Value: $127,000,000
There is no better feeling as a sports fan than filling out a bracket for the NCAA basketball tournament and thinking, “Man, I don’t even know what State this school is in…”
The run-of-the-mill hoop fans learned of college campuses like Davidson, VCU, Butler or Xavier thanks to their Cinderella-like wins in recent tournament play.
During the qualitative rise in “madness” during the NCAA basketball tournament, players would stay in school for a three- or four-year career—superstars like Georgetown’s dominant Patrick Ewing, St. John’s sharpshooting Chris Mullin or the talented Tar Heel tandem of James Worthy and Michael Jordan.
Now, the value of a free college education in exchange for remaining at the Division I level is barely enough to keep budding stars in school for their freshman year.
The beauty of “March Madness” is the street fight-esque rhythm of each game—two teams show up where the victor is determined by the team with the most heart, spirit and pride rather than talent.
In the words of the late Jimmy Valvano, “survive and advance, one game at a time”.
“March Madness” was forever changed when the tradition of filling out a bracket was introduced to hoop fans worldwide. Now, men, women and children of all ages can enter in “bracket challenges” with an equal opportunity of winning simply because it is so hard to actually predict the winners of each game.