[Stadium] - In 2019, the NCAA earned an estimated $933 million from the combination of media rights, ticket revenue and sponsorships that come with the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA then lost all of this revenue this past March and April after the season was shut down in mid-March. Most ADs feel as though the NCAA can’t afford a second straight year without March Madness and the Final Four.
“There’s too much money at stake. There’s going to be an NCAA Tournament,” said one AD.
“I’m not sure what it’s going to look like, but I think we’ll have some version of a tournament. It may wind up being 32 teams, but I just don’t see a way in which the NCAA doesn’t find a way,” added another athletic director.
I've blogged this more than a couple times now. This is of course how we should be viewing the 2021 NCAA Tournament and the 2020-21 college hoops season. There is more and more confidence as the days go on that something is going to happen - Larry Scott be damned. There's simply too much money at stake for the 2021 NCAA Tournament to be cancelled. We're seeing how many smaller sports get cut across the country already, another year without the NCAA Tournament and you're talking a complete catastrophe.
The question is just how we end up seeing it play out. The more and more it sounds like there will be a start of the season planned for the week of Thanksgiving. We'll find out that for sure in the next week or two after the NABC meet and the Division I council meet. It makes the most sense. Play regional games when there are no students on campus and you can create even more of a bubble without a 'true bubble' and bring in amateurism.
I'm very confident we see some sort of season. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it. Be prepared to see bubbles for tournaments - all of the ESPN Thanksgiving Tournaments at Disney, Vegas, Mohegan Sun, etc. Those ideas have been floated around out there and I've heard from coaches (nbd) that this is at least being talked about. Then the question is do you do a bubble where you play for 2-3 weeks, go back home, take a couple weeks off and do it again for conference play. That ultimately is what has to be figured out.
Either way - positive vibes only. College hoops will be saved.