Football program sparks interest in university

Football program sparks interest in university

National media coverage following the recent success of the university’s football program is a priceless marketing asset for the school, a university official said.

ESPN’s College GameDay show and Sports Illustrated are both hot on the Horned Frogs’ trail as the team heads to BYU this weekend.

“The exposure that we’ll receive on Saturday with the GameDay show and also with some other ESPN pieces leading up to Saturday (is) immeasurable,” said Mark Cohen, director of athletic media relations for the university. “I don’t think you could put a price tag on it.”

Outside interest in the university’s football program has increased markedly since the Oct. 12 publication of Sports Illustrated’s four-page spread on head coach Gary Patterson and the team.

“There’s no doubt – when you have success, the interest picks up and it’s a credit to our football program,” Cohen said. “My inbox is at about 250 (e-mails) right now.”

Cohen said the publicity surrounding the football program benefited not only the team itself, but also the university’s other sports programs.

“The best form of marketing, in a way … is winning,” Cohen said. “If our program continues to hopefully have success, you can’t ask for anything more.”.

Lisa Albert, associate director of communications, said the notoriety of the program could be a good thing for the school as a whole.

“Certainly when any of our programs are positively highlighted, it has a positive effect on the university,” Albert said.

Stacy Landreth Grau, associate professor of professional practice in marketing, said that if the football team continued to win and national attention stayed consistent, two major things would likely happen for the university.

“What ends up happening is that … you’re going to get a lot more kids applying to the school,” Grau said. “(Also), donors are going to start coming out of the woodwork, I think, and be much more willing to donate whether it’s scholarships or buildings or whatever.”

Grau said the situation was similar at her alma mater, Louisiana State University, where two national football championship wins since 2003 resulted in several new buildings on campus, including a child care center and a journalism building.

In the end, the best thing about the buzz surrounding the Horned Frogs’ program , Cohen said, was that the general public spoke about college football more.

“I think it just shows the passion that there is for college football, say what you will about the BCS,” Cohen said. “The bottom line is it gets people talking about college football, and that’s a positive right there.”