News 2 talked to an expert who explains the impact a run in the NCAA men's basketball tournament can have on a college.
For many, the best part about March Madness is the stories that come with it. We know there are always upsets, buzzer beaters, and break-out stars. But the spotlight isn't just for the basketball team. The whole school gets a piece of the pie.
Dr. Tony Weaver, a Sports and Event Management Professor at Elon University told us that an unexpected run in the tournament, especially for a mid-major basketball program, can give a school tremendous exposure.
"A school, like for example Florida Golf Coast right now. They're such a young institution," said Dr. Weaver. "Most people outside of Florida probably never heard of the institution, let alone the basketball program, so to get that kind of exposure, they would not have the money and the budget to pay for the value of the exposure that they're getting."
People start talking and thinking about a school they would otherwise not know about. Dr. Weaver thinks success in the tournament can potentially increase attendance and ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, fundraising, and admission rates.
"It will at least get a student to look at your brochure, go to your website, at least provide a little more name recognition for high school students that might be interested in your institution," said Weaver.
Weaver mentioned Butler University and Virginia Commonwealth University as recent examples of schools that have seen the "tourney effect."
WFMY News 2 studied Davidson College near Charlotte as an example. In 2008, their men's basketball team made it to the Elite 8 with Stephen Curry leading the team. Curry now plays in the NBA for the Golden State Warriors.
Davidson College collected web analytics and other data following the school's run in the tournament.
Here's some data:
In February 2008:
-Number of website visitors: 399,121
-Number of visitors who bookmarked the site: 133,431
-Average webpage views per day: 42,549
In March 2008:
-Number of website visitors: 1,243,440
-Number of visitors who bookmarked the site: 777,269
-Average webpage views per day: 126,196
Davidson College also kept track of media coverage from March 8, 2008 through April 1, 2008.
The school was mentioned 9,031 times in different media outlets. 4,480 of those mentions were in daily newspapers. 1,760 of those mentions were on TV.
News 2 talked to Davidson College's athletic director who said that, since that 2008 run, the school had been able to recruit athletes in all sports with higher talent than before.
North Carolina A&T University might also see a similar impact. WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford talked with Nicole Pride, a Vice Chancellor with the communications department.
A&T won their first ever NCAA tournament game when they beat Liberty University in a play-in game. Their mascot was on the cover of USA Today following the win.
Nicole Pride is in the middle of collecting data to determine the exposure. Reports include web analytics such as visits and traffic. She's also looking at bookstore sales and the number of undergrad applicants following the tournament.
It's too new to have any concrete numbers but Pride said the school has seen a tremendous increase on social media.
WFMY News 2