AP analysis: NCAA bubble swings minimum of $10M per year

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The leagues of teams on the NCAA Tournament bubble have a lot of money riding on the last spots in the field of 68 teams.

A minimum of $10 million is at stake each year for leagues chasing one of the last four at-large bids. That’s according to an Associated Press analysis of the NCAA system that pays conferences based on tournament performance.

Bubble teams that make it into the tournament have generated at least $110 million for their conferences since 2011, when the tournament field expanded to 68 teams.

The system has paid out more than $3 billion since 1997, with the five most powerful conferences commanding a big share of the last bids and the revenue that comes with them.


Aaron Beard is an AP college basketball writer. Larry Fenn is a data journalist based in New York. AP College Sports Writer Ralph D. Russo in New York contributed to this report.


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