Some people associate March with spring cleaning and St. Patrick’s day, but for sports fans, the month will always be associated with the Big Dance. The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament brings together dozens of Division I college basketball teams to see who ultimately reigns supreme. Despite being a college-level event, the tournament draws huge crowds, inspires large betting pools and generates a excitement.
The only thing better than winning a bracket? Catching the action in person. With the Big Ten tournament starting today at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, now is the time to get your clients excited about the next month of basketball excitement.
Getting to the Big Dance
There are several ways for teams to punch their ticket to March Madness. Each of the 32 conferences holds its own tournament, and the winner automatically advances to the NCAA tournament. The other 36 men’s teams teams that get to play are chosen and awarded at-large bids on Selection Sunday (March 11), which is itself a highly anticipated and widely viewed event. That Selection Committee also determines how the chosen teams are seeded. Teams are ranked and then divided into regions; the goal is to evenly distribute teams according to rank and popularity so each region is weighted equally.
The teams who make it through the various rounds of tournament play will advance to the Final Four in San Antonio, TX March 30th – April 2nd. These last two games — a semifinal on Saturday and the championship game played on Monday — determine who ultimately triumphs.
March Madness 2018: The Road to San Antonio
The festivities kick into high gear with Selection Sunday on March 11, followed by the start of tournament play in Dayton, Ohio, on March 13.
NCAA tournament venues are chosen for their neutrality. No team gets a home court advantage, though there may be exceptions made in the Final Four round as those venues are chosen years in advance. March Madness 2018 venues include Pittsburgh, Wichita, Dallas, Boise, Nashville, San Diego, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Boston, among other cities, giving sports fans plenty of options should they decide to pack a bag and check out a game in person.
Basketball enthusiasts can buy individual tickets to early round, semi-final or Final Four games, or spring for experience packages that include tickets, accommodations and optional hospitality upgrades featuring everything from deluxe food stations to celebrity encounters.
Several special events also add to the mania. During the Final Four in San Antonio The Capital One® Final Four Fan Fest is a four-day extravaganza that combines interactive game play and athlete appearances in a family-friendly atmosphere. Anyone craving a little live music will love the lineup at the March Madness Music Festival; Aerosmith, The Zac Brown Band, Bruce Springsteen and Rihanna have all shown up to entertain in the past, and this year’s lineup promises to be just as memorable.