Tournament Run A Valuable Exposure Boost For Michigan Basketball

By Angelique S. Chengelis of The Detroit News

The postseason success of the Michigan men’s basketball team, particularly its NCAA Tournament run to the title game, generated considerable buzz among the Michigan fan base, which has an extended reach across the country.

Apparel and merchandise sales at the M Den, Michigan’s official merchandise retailer, were brisk coming off the Wolverines’ second straight Big Ten tournament title. And after Jordan Poole’s buzzer-beating shot catapulted the Wolverines into the Sweet Sixteen, the race to buy went up a notch.

“It was nuts,” M Den owner Scott Hirth said. “Fans were really fired up for this team and they loved the Big Ten champs, Sweet Sixteen and Final Four merchandise we had.”

According to research from the Ann-Arbor based company Joyce Julius & Associates, which measures and analyzes all forms of media, from the beginning of the Big Ten tournament through the day after the national championship game in which the Wolverines fell to Villanova, they were mentioned in 80,950 news media stories (television, internet, print).

The company calculates the exposure value of a brand and translates that into the amount it would have cost to obtain that exposure through traditional advertising.

“If you compare the cumulative audience from the media coverage to the cost reaching the same audience through traditional advertising, the exposure value of the coverage approaches an estimated $125 million,” said Eric Wright, president and director of Joyce Julius Research. “Additionally, the national game telecasts, from the Big Ten tournament through the (NCAA) championship game, easily increase the exposure value for Michigan another $20-$30 million.”

The 80,000-plus mentions are an “extremely high” number, Wright said.

What does it mean tangibly for the Michigan basketball program and the athletic department overall? It means they were the subject of a significant number of news stories, but beyond that, it’s mainly an ego stroke.

“It’s a nice brag number for Michigan,” Wright said. “It doesn’t mean anything too tangible, but it is impressive. Nobody else in the Big Ten went that far (in the NCAA Tournament). The other programs are not getting covered those weeks, so they’re alone in the spotlight for that. It doesn’t hurt.”

Michigan also will get a nice chunk of change from the NCAA basketball fund that provides money distributed to the conferences based on their performance in the tournament over a six-year rolling period. A conference can share the total evenly among its member programs but isn’t required to do so.

Last year, for instance, each program received about $1.7 million from that fund…