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The March Madness Bracket: From A Staten Island Bar To Wall Decor

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The March Madness Bracket: From A Staten Island Bar To Wall Decor
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The NCAA tournament kicks off Thursday, March 15, and millions of people are still readying their perfect March Madness bracket.

A Brief History Of The Bracket

The NCAA tournament has been around since 1939. Its popularity really began to explode during the 1978-1979 season. That year's tournament ended with Magic Johnson's Michigan State Spartans defeating Larry Bird's Indiana State Sycamores.

"The first NCAA bracket pool ... is thought to have started in 1977 in a Staten Island bar," Smithsonian's Natasha Geiling wrote in 2014. "88 people filled out brackets in the pool that year and paid $10 in a winner-take-all format. At the same bar in 2006, 150,000 entered and prize money exceeded $1.5 million."

An estimated 60 million Americans fill out a bracket each year.

Ways To Track Your Bracket

The internet allows people to print dozens and dozens of brackets, but some newspapers still print brackets that fans can cut out and fill in as they go.

The CBS Sports app has a "My Brackets" section that allows users to track every bracket they fill out. The app sends a push notification for each game chosen so users can find out in real time how their bracket is performing. ESPN, the NCAA and others also offer apps for download. 

If your eyes get sore from looking at all those printouts, it's not too late to buy a FatHead "Fat Bracket" to track each round's winners. Fathead's NCAA bracket is perfect for an office setting, allowing everyone to see whose bracket was busted first.

Crazy Promotions

ESPN's Tournament Challenge said "if you score the most points, you'll have a chance to win the grand prize of a $10,000 Amazon Gift Card and a trip to the 2018 Maui Jim Maui Invitational."

Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE: BRK-A) annual challenge is always fun, if unlikely to ever be won.

Warren Buffett will pay employees who pick the first 32 games correctly $1 million a year for life, which CBS Sports said is an amendment to a previous promise that the same payout would be issued to a perfect Sweet 16 bracket.

Buffett also promised to double the payout this year if Creighton wins the NCAA Tournament. Creighton is located in Omaha, Nebraska — Buffett's hometown. 

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Photo by Gump840/Wikimedia. 

Posted-In: ESPN Fathead March Madness NCAA NCAA TournamentEducation Sports General Best of Benzinga

 

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