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OUR VIEW: Tournament start a sign of normalcy

Exactly 53-weeks ago, the NCAA followed many other sports organizations in either canceling or postponing their seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sports wise, this was arguably the single largest blow that COVID-19 had dealt our country. In a March 2020 article, Forbes listed the Men’s Final Four as the eighth most valuable sports brand in the world at an estimated brand value of $90 million. It brings in an estimated $700 million revenue between television revenue and ticket sales. So, from a financial standpoint, the cancellation of this tournament was a revenue nightmare and a sign of things to come for many businesses.

The tournament is also one of the more engaging sporting events as people fill out brackets to compete against friends, family, co-workers and complete strangers to see who can best predict the outcome. 

Some have even sought out other bracket challenges. 

For example, the best chain restaurant, the best breed of dog — the list is endless and provides non-sports fans into the fray.

Regardless if you are a sports fan or not, the fun of filling out a bracket just to see how well you will do is exciting — especially when we get our excitement in short bursts these days. 

The excitement of the tournament has returned, staring COVID-19 in the eyes as the numbers seem to dip lower and lower and vaccinations continue to rise.

The 64-team portion of the NCAA tournament begins this afternoon and millions of fans have already completed their brackets and are now settling in to watch a weekend full of basketball. (If you are reading this before noon, there is still time to fill out a bracket, and we just happen to be hosting our first bracket challenge on our website.)

Whether you camp out on your couch to watch the games or take glancing looks at the scores, we encourage you to take a moment to appreciate what our country missed out on last year and hope we never find ourselves in that position again. Enjoy the madness!