VCU's Final Four foray in men's basketball tournament brings unprecedented amounts of publicity
The Washington Post
April 5, 2011
With each game that the Virginia Commonwealth University men’s basketball team wins, the Richmond school gains even more attention. It’s no secret that going far in the NCAA tournament gives universities unprecedented amounts of practically free publicity — but what exactly does that mean?
It means 11 million Web hits. In one day.
When VCU beat top-seeded Kansas and broke into the Final Four on Sunday, millions of people did some online research. That day “Virginia Commonwealth University” was the No. 1 hot search trend on Google. The second most popular search term was “vcu.” That day the university’s main homepage, vcu.edu, received 11 million hits. The athletics Web site got 6 million hits of its own. (The Sunday before, as March Madness got rolling, the main university page received about 4 million hits.)
It means more media coverage.
Between Friday, March 25, and Monday, March 28, VCU was mentioned or featured by the media at least 3,200 times. Typically, the university only gets about 300 mentions in that time period. There have also been tens of thousands of VCU mentions on Twitter.
The last time the university came close to receiving this much attention was in 2002 when chemistry professor John B. Fenn won the Nobel Prize for chemistry.