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Editor at Large

Basketball and business

- Last modified: March 14, 2014 at 3:42 PM

The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, known as March Madness, becomes March Gladness for business.

Yes, workplaces are disrupted with bracket challenges and (sometimes) watching games on TV. But fun contests at work also build morale.

Meanwhile, businesses big and small often use the month-long hoop championship as a marketing and promotional opportunity.

But the main beneficiaries of the basketball championship could be sports bars, restaurants, taverns, distributors, pizza places and food and snack vendors.

Of course, if your city or region is hosting a game in the tournament, the benefits to business expand to hotels, gas stations, transit companies and beyond.

In our region, occasionally Lehigh University or Lafayette College qualifies for the tournament, and that leads to extra interest in the NCAA Tournament. Two years ago, Lehigh shocked national power Duke in the first round of the tournament, and that created a buzz in Bethlehem – and elsewhere in the Lehigh Valley – that we hadn’t seen in a while.

This year, it appears that Villanova is the region’s only hope to create some extra juice for the tournament. One of the top five teams in the nation, Villanova is just outside Philadelphia and has many fans and alumni in the Greater Lehigh Valley. If the Wildcats go far, that could boost business in the region.

Meanwhile, the tournament brackets come out Sunday evening on a nationally televised show.

Good luck in your brackets. (But if you're in a contest that includes me, not too much luck.)


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