Convert Your Glass Slippers into Season-Ticket Holders

After the last four days of pure basketball paradise, March Madness is in full effect throughout the country and beyond. Being the analytics guy that I am, I find my interest in my favorite sporting event of the year going beyond the hardwood. All of the buzz generated during these few weeks in March provides an unbeatable opportunity for marketers to capitalize!

Universities, players, sponsors, host cities, bars and countless others have capitalized on the NCAA basketball tournament for years. Going back a decade to my days at Kent State University, the Golden Flashes run to the Elite Eight captivated Northeast Ohio and much of the nation. The impact: that Cinderella run helped drive a 13% increase in admissions applications the following year at KSU (driving revenue!).

Fast-forward ten years: imagine the impact of the buzz surrounding Kent State’s run with the proliferation of social media today.

Great news! The brilliant folks at Fathom have put together a Cinderella Team Buzz Index to measure the social-media buzz being generated by the NCAA tourney. Check out early findings below:

15-seed Lehigh’s victory over Duke on Friday night generated over 225,000 mentions in one day!

Lehigh Popularity

The power of college athletics as a marketing tool for a university. This image shows VCU’s social-media mentions over the past 16 months (illustrating virtually no traffic except for March Madness).VCU’s run to the Final 4 in 2011 generated less buzz than VCU’s first round win in 2012!

VCU Popularity

Duke won 5 games since Feb. 19th and only lost 3 games. Can you identify the dates of their3 losses? The graph tells the story, with the loss to Lehigh driving the most buzz.

Duke Popularity

Measuring the social-media buzz is great, but the next step is activating this knowledge with a strategy that achieves results that matter. To this end, Fathom has been doing social-media research and driving results for some of the top brands in the country over the past few years.

Did you tweet, blog or post about the NCAA tourney over the last four days? What was the impact of that social media interaction? We can measure it! Stay tuned for more updates to the NCAA Tournament Cinderella Team Buzz Index.

About Steve Kessen

Steve Kessen is both a director of Fathom’s enterprise solutions and its sports marketing practice. Formerly the vice president and general manager at TeamWork Online, he has worked with more than 750 of the top brands in sports: the NBA, NFL, NHL; MLB, NASCAR, IMG, ESPN Wide World of Sports and many others. Prior to his role at TeamWork Online, Kessen was one of the first ever dedicated analytics professionals in the professional sports business for the Cleveland Cavaliers. In addition to Kessen’s extensive experience in analytics and the sports industry, he has also been a CPA in the State of Ohio while starting his career at Ernst & Young. Kessen holds an MBA from the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Business and a BBA in accounting from Kent State University. Complementing his full-time role at Fathom, he is also an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Master of Sport Industry Management program. He resides in Northeast Ohio with his wife and son.

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