Men's Basketball

Loyola’s March Madness Publicity Worth More Than $300 Million

BorshoffLoyola's magical Final Four run was worth over $300 million, according to Borshoff.

The Loyola basketball team captured the nation and the world’s attention when it went on a Cinderella run to the Final Four in March. The value of that run was worth an estimated $302,477,606, according to Borshoff, an advertising and public relations firm.

Factoring in TV coverage, print, online and social media coverage, the total reach was 151.19 billion during the run, according to Borshoff.

The tournament has allowed Loyola to stand out among a crowded higher-education market, according to Damon Cates, Loyola’s vice president of institutional advancement.

“The higher education market generally is a noisy space, and talking about what makes the Loyola education distinctive on a national level, you don’t get that opportunity very often,” Cates said. “That’s what this is helping provide for us, a chance to tell Loyola’s story.”

The owner of Borshoff, Jennifer Young Dzwonar, said Loyola got so much publicity because of its Cinderella status that broke up the “same old, same old” of teams like Duke or Kansas making the Final Four.

“From the very first win, Loyola’s coverage managed to sustain because it was one of those wonderful special cases,” Dzwonar said. “People were paying more attention.”

From March 15 to April 5, Loyola received more than 4,500 television mentions — not including broadcasts of the games. According to Borshoff, the TV coverage was worth $82.4 million.

Print media coverage spanned newspapers of all sizes and included “top-tier media such as The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune.” According to Borshoff, the day of the Final Four, March 31, had the most print mentions at 265.

Online, the Ramblers racked up more than 51,500 article mentions, which, according to Borshoff, carries a value of more than $79.5 million.

Mentions of the team on social media spiked on the day the Ramblers beat Kansas State in the Elite Eight with 108,558 posts.

The Final Four was second with 87,501 posts. Overall, the Ramblers were mentioned on social media 639,302 times with a potential audience reach of 5.4 billion.

On Feb. 24, the day of the incident between Campus Safety officers and two students, there were 38,686 social media posts about the University. According to Borshoff, the “measurable sentiment around Loyola Chicago that day was 94 percent negative.”

Before the incident, the sentiment was less than 10 percent negative and more than 20 percent positive. Since the Final Four, the negative feelings toward Loyola have decreased with 28 percent positive, 10 percent negative and the rest neutral — which Borshoff describes as being good for a brand.

According to Dzwonar, the jump is especially impactful for a lesser known school like Loyola, because the benchmark is much lower. She also said even if the Ramblers make it back to the Final Four next year, the impact probably won’t be as high because of the Cinderella nature of this year’s run.

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Editor-in-Chief

Henry Redman is from Cleveland, Ohio and is majoring in broadcast journalism with minors in sports management and photography. He's a fan of the Cleveland Indians and Green Bay Packers, making him a sworn enemy to Chicago.

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