Nearly as mind-blowing a fact as Butler making back-to-back Final Fours is the number affiliated with the accomplishment: $500 million.
That's how much the school says it's reaped in regard to publicity due to unprecedented title-game runs in 2010 and 2011. It's also the amount of money most schools are willing to pay to hire Brad Stevens. (Kidding. Only kind of.)
The study, done by Borshoff, monitored and evaluated media coverage of the Butler University men’s basketball team from mid-March to mid-June, 2011. During that period, Butler garnered an estimated publicity value of $512,382,703 through television, print and on-line news coverage. When factoring in social media, the audience reach surpassed 69 billion.That's 69 billion people, not dollars. Had to clean that dangled sentence.
And, holy wow, 69 billion? No, really -- sixty freaking nine freaking billion. That's an unbelievable number, considering you're accounting for page views, viewers on television, Twitter followers, etc. Who knows the math behind it all, really.
Wait, Butler claims it does. This isn't the same type of ambigious, nebulous number you hear about each March, when studies claim America loses $385 billion on lost work and the like. No, they've got this all down to a science, people.
The study found that the performance of the Butler men’s basketball team generated $60,378,084.41 in television publicity value, $2,792,954.18 in print publicity value and $449,211,664.31 in on-line publicity value. The study did not consider the publicity value of radio broadcasts or talk shows.And the chorus sings, "Why aren't we paying the players?"
Television coverage during the final two weeks of the NCAA Tournament provided more than 7,600 mentions of the Butler men’s basketball team, with an estimated publicity value of more than $42.5 million. The championship game’s publicity value was estimated at more than $2.2 million. Overall, Butler basketball received nearly 10,000 mentions and reached an estimated audience of 1.4 billion.
There's more, though. You don't reach such a high number over the course of two years unless the Internet plays a huge role. And it does now more than ever. The study monitored any type of mentions for Butler on every social media platform, as well as YouTube, and discovered another audience that produced more than $12 million hits.
What's undeniable: Butler basketball is a household brand now, thanks to Brad Stevens. But even if this team du jour is such a draw, what are the numbers for schools like Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina? At least double, you'd have to imagine. And then consider college football programs, which are gaining steam each year. What does Florida or USC or Notre Dame earn in publicity? You'd need a golden calculator to divide the time it takes to realize that real programs like that are earning money that's beyond countable.