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The Real Cost of March Madness

By Ben Steverman, with Eben Novy-Williams and Seth Magalaner - 2012-03-21T23:12:14Z

Photograph by Eric Francis/Getty Images

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The first national men's college basketball tournament in 1939 lost money -- $2,531 to be exact. In 2012 that deficit is just about enough to buy one of 75,000 tickets to watch the Final Four games in person on March 31 and April 2 at the Superdome in New Orleans.

If money is the measure, March Madness lives up to its name. Click ahead for's look at some of the costs and economic effects of the 67-game tournament.