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March Madness: Kansas wins NCAA title after historic comeback, sports bettors rake in winnings

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Yahoo Finance's Josh Schafer discusses Kansas's historic win concluding the 2022 NCAA men's basketball tournament, how March Madness bettors and brackets fared, and how much tickets to the game cost fans.

Video Transcript

BRIAN CHEUNG: Well, let's shift over to the sports world where the big game yesterday, the championship game in New Orleans, with Kansas taking the ship against a banged-up North Carolina team in a crazy comeback that ended 72 to 69. Let's bring in Yahoo Finance's Josh Schafer with more on one interesting business angle, and that was sports betting, of course. I think about 14% of people picked Kansas to win it all, even though they were a 1 seed. What's interesting was that I think the spread was plus 4 for Carolina, so even if you did bet on Carolina, if it was on the spread, you did come out all right.

JOSH SCHAFER: You did, Brian. And if you remember, the reason those bettors really came out all right was with about three or four seconds left in that game, Kansas had the ball up 3, probably about to get fouled to go up 4 and go up 5 and cover that spread. But Kansas stepped out of bounds. So it was a big story last night in the sports gambling world. You have Kansas stepping out of bounds at the end of that game.

And then they give the ball back to North Carolina, and that's how North Carolina ends up covering the spread. Something that as sports gambling continues to get more popular in the US, a fun thing to watch. And of course, we know Vegas always has those numbers right, and they really seemed to have that one right. Sitting at four-point spread, the game ends with three points-- kind of crazy.

Wanted to point out a couple of big bets that we saw because we always like to look at those. It's fun. One bettor at MGM wont $112,000 on Kansas. And then, of course, the whale, Mattress Mack, we love to follow him, see what he bet. He loves to offset those furniture promos. It's reported he made $12.2 million last night, guys. He finally hit one. He hit on Kansas. He hit it big. And his furniture customers also hit it big. They got some free furniture if they spent over $3,000 at his store.

AKIKO FUJITA: Wow, $12 million for Mattress Mack. Josh, can we talk about the ticket prices? You had a story out yesterday before tipoff about how low tickets were going for, largely because Duke was no longer in that final match-up. I mean, what did they end up going for? Do we have any idea?

JOSH SCHAFER: Yeah, so tickets were going for-- people got in for in the $20 to $30 range, Akiko. It was that low. Those were bad seats, though, too, we should point out. And just realistically, if you were sitting at the top of the Caesars Superdome last night, you didn't have a good view of the game. So it was really to get in for the experience people were getting in for. We saw this happen after Coach K lost. It wasn't the final Duke game. Those prices came way down.

We did see some folks, though, get into the 100 level, which is pretty much as close as you can get without being on the floor when you're sitting in a football stadium. Some people paid $150, $200 for those seats, so they did get a really good deal. Sometimes you don't always win when you wait, right, to buy these seats. The tickets go up at the last second.

This ended up beneficial if you were waiting. You got in for pretty cheap, and you got to see an instant classic game, too. I think a lot of people were hoping to see Coach K and Duke. But this was a great game. And I think people that waited were happy that they ended up waiting and spending that low amount of money.

BRIAN CHEUNG: I mean, some of that could just be a function of there are so many seats, and, you know, you could get a nosebleed seat in the arena, but, you might not be able to see anything, although, Josh, you and I know what it's like to watch basketball in a football arena. I just want to banter a little bit here, because, look, a 9:20 PM Eastern time tip, Josh, is there any reason to think that maybe that weighed on the lack of ticket sales or maybe sports bets.

JOSH SCHAFER: And a Monday night game, too, right?

BRIAN CHEUNG: I didn't stay up for the second half. I didn't stay up for the second half. I wouldn't have put a sports bet in because I had to go to bed. I mean, it's too late, man.

JOSH SCHAFER: Yeah, and I think it's a hard travel thing, too, right? If you had a random game in New Orleans, Brian, on a Saturday night, maybe you or I were more inclined to go to New Orleans for the weekend for the National Championship Game, just to see a good game. I think with it being Monday night, you had to plan this in advance. And I think a lot of the people that planned it in advance were planning it to watch Coach K. They took Monday off from work. They took Tuesday off from work.

And they really were just disappointed and wanted to get out of town when he didn't make it. I think that's the problem with some of these Monday night wait games. You have to plan that in advance. It's not something you're going to do on a whim on a random Monday night. I know TickPick told us they didn't think the basketball audience in New Orleans itself for people that would just go during the day was really that big. And that probably contributed to the lowering ticket prices as well.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, that's a good point. I mean, New Orleans not necessarily a basketball town, but can we just-- you talk about some disappointment because Coach K wasn't in the championship game. I mean, can we sort of acknowledge the dig that Brian has made at Duke at every turn? Brian, I know you weren't disappointed with the game.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Josh is on my side. Josh is going to be on my side on this one.

JOSH SCHAFER: It was fun to see Duke lose. It was fun to see Duke lose. It was a great narrative. I think it would have been to see him lose to UNC, too, in the rivalry, that's an all-time college basketball game. It stinks we couldn't get it. There it is, Brian. Go, orange.

AKIKO FUJITA: By the way, how far did they go? Can we just--

BRIAN CHEUNG: They weren't in it. They weren't in it.

AKIKO FUJITA: Exactly, exactly. Instant classic, though, Josh, as you said, the largest comeback that we have seen. And I was like Brian. I did go to sleep before and missed out on a big game. Josh on top of it all, and of course, you can read all about it on our website, Yahoo Finance. Thanks so much for that, Josh.