It is no secret that the NCAA men's basketball tournament makes a lot of money, but that amount has skyrocketed in recent years and now surpasses more than $1 billion in television ad revenue alone.
As recently as 2010, the NCAA's broadcasting rights for the NCAA Tournament were worth just under $550 million per year. In 2011, the NCAA reached a new 14-year, $10.8 billion that was worth just north of $770 million annually for the NCAA. However, at about that same time, the revenue CBS and Turner were generating from national TV ad sales went even higher, more than doubling from $598 million in 2009 to $1.24 billion just seven years later, according to Kantar Media (via Media Life Magazine).
Last year, with both sides presumably happy with their arrangement and all the money they are making, the two sides agreed to another eight-year extension, despite their current deal not expiring until 2024. Starting in 2025, the NCAA will be taking in $1.1 billion each year from the NCAA Tournament's TV deal alone. Of course, considering how much money CBS and Turner are generating in ad sales already, $1.1 billion in 2025 and beyond may look like chump change.
And that's just the TV revenue. We aren't even considering ticket and concession sales or other forms of revenue. Meanwhile, the players are still playing for the same scholarships.