Sports Bulls & Bears: March Madness reigns, as NFL reels from surprise retirement

 

 
 
 
 
Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

More on This Story

 

VANCOUVER — Sorting out the major winners and losers of this week — with a bottom-line twist — in the world of sports:

BULLS OF THE WEEK

It’s one part wall-to-wall television coverage, one part easy-to-consume tournament structure and one part demographics.

It’s March Madness, the NCAA basketball championship and it’s a sport business dynamo second only to the NFL’s Super Bowl week in terms of how wide a net it casts in terms of casual sports fans.

The 68-team event (a four-team qualifying play-in and six rounds culminating in the NCAA Final Four in the first week of April) is defined by the bracket fever that has more than 70 million people submitting their picks online. Bracket betting also accounts for $2 billion of the $9 billion to be wagered on the tournament this year.

It has been a big deal for CBS Sports for years but is bigger than ever in Canada this month as TSN throws its five-channel platform at it for the first time and benefits from the 28 Canadian players involved.

It’s also been massive for CBSsports.com this decade as the vanguard of video streaming. What is now standard practice in professional sports was first piloted at this tournament by CBS online, to the point where March Madness live streaming intrudes on college and university classrooms across the U.S. and costs the American economy billions in lost productivity each spring. There will be 76,000 years of college basketball watched by Americans this tournament, making it the biggest volume event of its kind in the world.

BEARS OF THE WEEK

The NFL was a bear market this week, not because of anything it did or didn’t do, but because of the shock waves sent through the football industry after 24-year-old Chris Borland of the San Francisco 49ers retired after just one year in the league. He did so out of fear of what concussions might do to him over the long term.

It is such a complicated story and complex issue but one thing is for sure: It was another clear warning about how the NFL (and CFL) will need to continue to do even more to promote player safety; not an easy proposition in such a violent contact sport that is a $12-billion business.

It’s one thing for players who have made their money to step away, but when a rookie like Borland walks away from millions of dollars in future earnings, it only puts more of an urgent focus on the perils of concussions and gets more people (players, fans and especially parents of athletes) thinking about brain injuries in all contact sports, not just the NFL

Tom Mayenknecht is host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and TSN Radio, where he regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of sports business. He reviews the major winners and losers of the past week every Saturday in The Vancouver Sun.

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. We are using Facebook commenting. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice