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Colleges compete for ESPN GameDay commercial

Published: Monday, April 23, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07

epsn gameday

FILE PHOTO

Students celebrate during a football game against Oklahoma State last fall. ESPN plans to film an advertisement at the college with the highest number of votes in its College GameDay competition.

The Texas A&M student body and fan network will compete against colleges across the nation for a chance to have ESPN’s iconic College GameDay crew shoot a commercial on campus.

Jason Cook, vice president of marketing and communications for Texas A&M, said GameDay on campus would bring national recognition to the campus, complementing A&M’s move to the Southeastern Conference.  

“Texas A&M obviously wants to show ESPN and our new SEC family the power of the Twelfth Man,” Cook said. “Having a GameDay commercial shot on our campus would give Texas A&M tremendous exposure to a national audience, right in line with our move to the SEC this fall.”

The ESPN “Bring GameDay to Your Campus” contest is an online voting contest beginning Monday. Cook said Aggies have fared well in similar online contests in the past year.

Fans can vote once per day during the 10-day period of voting and all voting will be held on the contest’s website, gamedayvote.com. The commercial will be filmed at the winning campus in late July or early August and will run throughout the 2012 college football season.

Matthew Fitzhenry, senior biomedical sciences major, said a commercial about A&M fans or traditions could also give A&M a boon in recruiting.

“Any type of positive press on ESPN, the biggest sports network in the world, would do wonders for Texas A&M in exposure and would certainly help with recruiting,” Fitzhenry said. “Combined with the move to the SEC, it would pretty much put all the eyes in the country on A&M.”

ESPN’s College GameDay, which made its debut in 1983, is a nationally broadcast college football preview show, normally airing Saturday mornings on the ESPN flagship channel during the college football season. The show has visited A&M and Kyle Field twice since 2000, the last time being a 2006 conference loss against the Oklahoma Sooners.

Featuring notable anchors Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreet and Lee Corso, GameDay is synonymous with the ever-expanding sport of college football and averaged more than 2 million viewers through the 2011 season.

“GameDay is a tremendous national platform. It is a college football institution. That program provides incredible visibility to Texas A&M and our campus,” Cook said. “One of the key things about our move to the SEC was to increase national exposure for Texas A&M. This is just another avenue in which we will have an opportunity to showcase Texas A&M coast to coast.”

A College GameDay commercial at A&M, if aired, would average millions of viewers.

ESPN, along with CBS, is a major television partner with the SEC, particularly in the realm of college football. According to the 2011 Nielsen ratings, the SEC averaged almost 4.5 million viewers in each telecast — roughly 1.2 million viewers more than second-place Big 10.

“ESPN has an incredible partnership with the SEC. If you look at games that are broadcast on the SEC, it’s called the ‘SEC on ESPN’ and ESPN provides that national platform,” Cook said. “Several Saturday evenings last football season, the SEC would have three football games airing at one time on ESPN’s networks. That shows you the tremendous power of both the ESPN and the SEC brands.”

Tim Cuccia, sophomore business major, said he agrees that increased exposure through ESPN would help football recruiting and be an exciting prospect for all Aggies.  

“I do think it’s a great idea. I think it would help our recruiting classes as we make our transition to the SEC,” Cuccia said. “A&M on ESPN College GameDay would be an awesome experience.”

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