Money and Basketball

As I wrote yesterday, college sports don’t really make any money. It turns out, however, that even the Final Four, the NCAA Division I college basketball tournament, the biggest, most popular event in college sports, like ever, still operates in the red.

This weekend, Houston Texas will host the playoff games. Houston may get something out of the event, but the city is likely to spend more than it earns.

According to a piece by Alexander Hart at The New Republic:

According to research by Holy Cross’s Victor Matheson and Robert Baade, it doesn’t . Studying cities that hosted Final Fours from 1970 through 1999, the two found no statistically significant impact. In fact, while all the results for each year were almost all statistically insignificant, they were, on average, negative. And even in the years where the impact was positive, it was generally very small. So while some in Houston are predicting a $100 million boost for the city’s economy, it may never materialize. As the authors argue, “the evidence indicates that the economic impact of the Final Four will more likely be the equivalent of a financial ‘airball’ than an economic ‘slam dunk.’”

Read Matheson and Baade’s paper here.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer