Looking for your March Madness Cinderella story? Look no further than the darling Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast University.
The first No. 15 seed to ever make it to the Sweet 16, the Eagles from Fort Myers, Florida take on big brother, the University of Florida, this Friday.
Beyond the glory and immortality that comes with taking home a prestigious NCAA National Championship trophy, lies the unmatched visibility March Madness provides a school like FGCU.
Following their upset of No. 2-seeded Georgetown last Friday, FGCU’s admissions website saw a traffic bump of more than 400 percent. After the Eagles’ win over the Aztecs from San Diego State on Sunday, the school’s website saw so many visitors that it ultimately crashed.
FGCU is getting better advertising than money could buy with its blowout victories over Georgetown and San Diego State. That means the team will instantly be capable of recruiting better players, selling more gear and bringing in more fans. This year’s headlines may lead to better tournament seeding in the future. The exposure also means the university ought to attract more applicants and, with any luck, some more alumni contributions. – Forbes
The effects of a magical March Madness run are far-reaching indeed, just ask Butler University. Following its appearance in the 2011 national title game, Butler had applications climb by more than 40 percent and undergraduate alumni donations jump 10 percent.
The NCAA tournament gives schools like FGCU and Butler a unique kind of exposure that’s truly unmatched. Fans and prospective students not only see the school’s name all over ESPN highlights, but they can identify with a team, a player and a story.
Much akin to a Heisman hopeful’s role as brand ambassador for his university, March Madness helps schools develop and broadcast their brand identity to millions of viewers all across the country.