Saint Peter’s is taking over March Madness, but the financial impact of this NCAA Tournament run will last much longer than a month.
Saint Peter’s is the Cinderella of March Madness. They are the third 15-seed to make the Sweet 16 and they are looking to become the first to reach the Elite Eight. They have Purdue on Friday and would potentially face the winner of UCLA and North Carolina.
This NCAA Tournament run is giving Saint Peter’s — a small Jesuit school in Jersey City with 2,600 undergraduates — a chance to soak in the national spotlight against the bluest of blue bloods in college basketball. The Peacocks are sitting at the adult table during the holidays.
Sitting at the adult table means Saint Peter’s and the MAAC are going to have a bigger piece of the pie. Aside from the national recognition, the financial windfalls that come from winning in the NCAA Tournament will benefit every team in the MAAC. Rising tides lift all boats.
“I just wanna mention about St. Peter’s, what Shaheen Holloway has done, and his team, is worth tens of millions, maybe a hundred million dollars over the course of time for St. Peter’s,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said on his SiriusXM show per Adam Zagoria of NJ.com.
This comment has been misread by some. SPU is not making $100M off this. The 6-plus hours of free national advertising on CBS, 10 days of being the biggest story in the NYC market & countless social-media impressions will change a school that had zero profile outside North Jersey
— Jerry Carino (@NJHoopsHaven) March 20, 2022
This little moment in time for Saint Peter’s can’t be overlooked from a national recognition standpoint. It’s tough to put an estimate on a potential enrollment increase or donations from alumni, but Doug Edert’s mustache is doing more than any locally broadcast commercial could ever accomplish.
NCAA Tournament Units
As for more concrete units of measurement, NCAA Tournament units are quantifiable. Every conference in the country earns “units” for the NCAA Tournament. These are payouts that are made for six years based on how many games each conference plays in the NCAA Tournament.
For a more detailed explanation of these units, check out Boardoom’s breakdown.
Every conference is guaranteed at least one unit for its automatic bid. The MAAC has been stuck on one unit per year since Siena’s opening-round win in 2009.
Now, the MAAC is guaranteed at least three units, which are estimated to be around $338,887 each. That means the MAAC is due at least $6,099,966 over the next six years. Each Saint Peter’s win from here on out would translate to an extra $2,033,322 stretched out over those six years.
This influx of cash will go a lot further than it would at a power conference like the SEC, ACC, or Big Ten. For one, MAAC schools can play fewer “buy” games. Every year, power conference schools play small schools to play in their building.
Essentially, programs trade a few losses on their record for between $40,000 and $100,000 per game. A win in a buy game is the epitome of brutality for the big school and a feather in the cap for the small school.
With that said, it’s not the smartest way for coaches and athletic departments to schedule a basketball season. More freedom in schedule making will give every team in the conference a lift. It could even lead to the one thing MAAC basketball fans have wanted to see for a long, long time.
The MAAC has only been a two-bid league twice since 1984. It’s not the norm for the conference.
Although Iona looked like a potential at-large early in the 2021-22 season, they were way outside the bubble conversation when all was said and done. The last legitimate at-large case in the league came from Monmouth in 2016. They were on the wrong side of the bubble.
Again, rising tides lift all boats. The Peacocks’ run in the NCAA Tournament is giving the MAAC more cachet. Don’t think the committee will forget about this run overnight.
The MAAC ranks 13th of 32 conferences in RPI rankings this year as well. Changing the narrative around the conference might be even more important than that statistic. Shaheen Holloway‘s tough-as-nails team is doing its part in putting the conference on the map.
Players Steal the Show
Up to now, we have looked at the massive financial implications from a macro perspective. We can’t forget about the players too.
No one on Saint Peter’s is a high-level NBA prospect, but a few extra games in the national spotlight never hurt. Even if this NCAA Tournament run translates into an opportunity in the G League or overseas, that’s a win for the Peacocks.
Doug Edert is one-part cold-blooded killer, one-part mustache meme, and one of the most talked-about athletes in the country right now. Every razor company should be working on some kind of NIL deal for Edert right now.
And this might not be what all the new Saint Peter’s fans want to hear, but there are going to be a handful of teams keeping an eye on the transfer portal for any Peacocks. If Holloway makes the leap to Seton Hall in the wake of Kevin Willard‘s move to Maryland, players on Saint Peter’s are going to have tough decisions to make.
But no matter what happens in the future, this Saint Peter’s squad is leaving a lasting legacy.