NYC Ranks 6th Best Large City for College Basketball Fans

If you’re in the Venn diagram of NYC residents and college basketball fans, we’ve got some good news. New York City just ranked in the top cities for college basketball fans.

With March Madness just days away, WalletHub released a report ranking the top cities for NCAA hoops. In a list of 295 cities, New York City ranked 20th. Of the top 60 “large cities,” NYC took sixth place over other major hubs like Houston, Miami, Phoenix, and Dallas.

The report also tracks figures on the economic impact of the March Madness tournament, the money teams and brands stand to make and, of course, brackets, and betting.

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New York City is a College Basketball Haven

The WalletHub report looked at nearly 300 cities across the US and ranked them according to nin key metrics, from the number of teams per city to the winning percentage of each city’s teams, stadium capacity, ticket costs, and social engagement.

In addition to ranking 20th overall, NYC snagged first in the number of Division 1 teams and third for conference championship teams.

Experts in the sports industry were asked to give their read on the best city. The apologist for New York was David Hollander, Assistant Dean of Real World and Clinical Professor with the Tisch Institute for Global Sport.

“[It’s] New York City, of course,” Hollander said. “Why? Because it has the most potential. Right now, in the greatest sports market in the world, there is really no marquee-level college basketball, but there are a ton of students and alumni. Talk about opportunity!”

Of course, New York City is also playing host to Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games in the men’s tournament this year.

March Madness by the Numbers

WalletHub’s report includes more about the economic and cultural impact of March Madness each year.

A few of the top figures include:

  • The NCAA’s annual revenue for 2022 was $1.14 billion, topping pre-pandemic revenues.
  • Businesses lose an estimated $16.3 billion in productivity during the tournament due to…um…distracted workers.
  • The average worker spends six hours watching March Madness.
  • 37% of Americans will call in sick or skip work to watch.
  • The University of Kentucky’s basketball program has an estimated value of $334.2 million, the highest of any school.
  • The March Madness Final Four tournament is expected to bring in over $300 million to its host city, Houston, TX.
  • The amount of money that NCAA players make? $0.

March Madness Sports Betting by the Numbers

The report estimates that sports bettors will wager over $10 billion on the 2023 NCAA tournament, with over $4 billion wagered on offshore, illegal sportsbooks.

With new states launching mobile sports betting each year, over 52% of Americans are expected to place a March Madness bet online. Ohio launched in January 2023, while Massachusetts is set to launch on March 10, just days before the tournament starts. The average bet on March Madness is $60.

Over 36.5 million people participate in NCAA basketball bracket pools. But the odds of filling out a perfect bracket? One in 9.2 quintillion. It’s easier to win back-to-back lottery tickets than to fill out a perfect bracket.

Top Odds to Reach Final Four


Is College Sports Betting Allowed in New York?

New York sportsbooks expect to pull in millions, or even billions, in handle during the March Madness tournament. The latest projection estimates a 2023 handle of $2.2 billion for New York.

But one thing New Yorkers can’t bet on? In-state collegiate teams. Several New York teams are likely to make it to the first rounds of the tournament, so any games involving those teams will be off-limits for New York sports bettors. Or, sports bettors in the state might opt for a quick trip to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Connecticut, where they can make wagers on those games.

Apart from in-state schools, though, New Yorkers are able to bet on futures, game lines, props, and more.


Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire

About the Author

Hannah Vanbiber

Hannah Vanbiber is one of our writers for NY Sports Day. She started her journalism career in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as a reporter covering local sports, entertainment, and business in the East Tennessee area. She is now a full-time freelance writer, editor, and reporter, covering women’s sports and sports betting in the New York metropolitan area.

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