While they aren’t mentioned too often during the NCAA tournament, conferences earn “units” based upon how far their members play into the 68-team event. Including the 2014 NCAA tournament each unit will be worth $255,379, and the money earned from those units tend to be distributed equally amongst conference members. So there isn’t a huge payoff for individual programs in this regard.
However schools can cash in from a publicity standpoint, with the success of their basketball team leading to increases in donations and college applications just to name two areas. And this can be especially important for schools who aren’t in the national spotlight as often as the most prestigious programs in college basketball.
One school that could see a boost as a result of its college basketball team’s deep run is Dayton, which reached the Elite Eight. According to a study done by the city, “the estimated publicity value for game play, television media, and social media is $72,660,482.”
The above video has a number just below the $72 million mark, but either way it’s evident that athletics have an impact on the way in which a school is perceived. This isn’t a foreign concept either, as schools such as Butler, VCU and Wichita State have benefitted from the extra attention that comes with a “Cinderella” run deep into the NCAA tournament.
The Dayton City Commissioners’ full report can be read here.