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A&M-Florida game generates $6.5 million

Third-party marketing analysis reveals valuable game day boost in media exposure

Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012

Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 02:09

Texas A&M’s inaugural Southeastern Conference opener against the Florida Gators resulted in a $6.5 million boost in media exposure for the University, according to an A&M
press release issued Wednesday.

The Aggies’ matchup with the Gators on Sept. 8 was one of the most highly anticipated events in school history, drawing ESPN College GameDay — ESPN’s flagship college football program — among other outlets.

A&M’s scheduling of a traditional football power in Florida, alongside the Aggies’ entrance into the nation’s premier athletic conference, set the stage for a profitable marketing opportunity. ESPN’s 2:30 p.m. telecast of the contest was viewed by more than 4.5 million people and was the most watched football game of the day.

A&M Athletic Director Eric Hyman described the marketing increase as the tip of the iceberg in exposure generated by the school’s presence in the SEC.

“Athletics provides a vehicle to introduce millions of people to Texas A&M, many of whom may not be familiar with this great university,” Hyman said in the press release. “Our move to the SEC has already put Texas A&M on the national stage, and this is only the beginning.”

Alongside College GameDay, ESPNU presented a live broadcast of Midnight Yell as a teaser to GameDay, an event attended by more than 40,000 fans. The channel’s shows, RoadTrip and UNITE, also contained A&M segments — generating even more exposure — on Sept. 11 and Sept. 6, respectively.

A&M’s social media exposure also increased significantly. The University’s official twitter handle received more than 1,200 new followers as A&M trended nationally from 7:30 a.m. until the conclusion of the game. Additionally, more than 112,000 users interacted with the University’s game-related Facebook content on Sept. 8 alone.

Jason Cook, A&M vice president for marketing and communications, also noted the increased exposure gained through A&M’s transition to the SEC.

“Texas A&M’s move to the SEC was primarily to raise the national visibility of the University. Our opening football weekend generated a significant amount of national media exposure, which also has significant value from a financial standpoint,” Cook said. “Our marketing budget simply wouldn’t come close to purchasing the amount of media exposure we received.”

Neither the football broadcast itself nor ESPN’s own in-house promotions were included as part of the study. ESPN College GameDay’s commercial showcasing A&M’s Midnight Yell practice, however, was included. Cook indicated in the press release that media exposure analysis will be ongoing, focusing specifically upon the commercial as it continues to air throughout the 2012 college football season.

Cook said the inspiration of the study derived from a similar analysis done at South Carolina when Hyman served as the Gamecocks’ athletic director.

“Eric Hyman had conducted a similar media analysis while he was at South Carolina, so we had a baseline of what to expect from having GameDay and related media on our campus,” Cook said. “We engaged a third-party media firm in an effort to monetize this exposure.”

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