UPDATED: Friday, September 21, 2012 - 2:16pm
COLLEGE STATION -- Texas A&M’s opening football weekend in the Southeastern Conference generated more than $6.5 million in media exposure and significant social media buzz for the university, according to an analysis conducted by an independent media firm.
The Aggies’ SEC opener against the Florida Gators on Sept. 8 brought ESPN’s College GameDay to Texas A&M for the first time since 2006, which resulted in three consecutive hours of live programming from the heart of the campus prior to kickoff. ABC’s Good Morning America also broadcasted live weather updates from Aggieland leading up to the game.
“Athletics provides a vehicle to introduce millions of people to Texas A&M, many of whom may not be familiar with this great university,” said Texas A&M Athletic Director Eric Hyman, who commissioned a similar study during his tenure at the University of South Carolina that produced comparable results. “Our move to the SEC has already put Texas A&M on the national stage, and this is only the beginning.”
In addition to ESPN’s College GameDay, ESPNU aired live segments from Texas A&M’s Midnight Yell Practice on Sept. 8, which was attended by more than 40,000 fans. ESPNU’s RoadTrip aired a 30-minute episode from Aggieland on Sept. 11, while ESPN’s college-focused channel also spotlighted Texas A&M’s many unique traditions during its UNITE show on Sept. 6.
Several national commercials also contributed to Texas A&M’s media exposure, including a Midnight Yell spot promoting ESPN’s College GameDay that was filmed at Texas A&M, Texas A&M’s institutional commercial that aired during the Florida game and AT&T’s Way2Saturday campaign stop in Aggieland for Week 2. Not included in the media exposure analysis was the football game itself or ESPN’s media inventory promoting the actual game.
The broadcast coverage built on significant social media activity leading up to and during the Aggies’ football game vs. Florida. Texas A&M trended nationally on Twitter from 7:30 a.m. until the conclusion of the game on Sept. 8, with the official university Twitter feed @TAMU picking up more than 1,200 new followers during ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast alone. The university’s game-related content on Facebook generated engagement with more than 112,000 users on Sept. 8, including more than 19,000 likes and 1,000 shares of a photo of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band’s salute to the SEC during halftime.
“As the most widely broadcast conference, the SEC provides a significant media platform for us to increase the visibility of the Texas A&M brand across the country. Our first football weekend was the culmination of a comprehensive, year-long campaign as part of the SEC transition, and it truly exceeded our expectations from both a broadcast and social media standpoint,” said Jason Cook, Texas A&M’s vice president for marketing and communications.
ESPN’s national 2:30 p.m. CT telecast of the Texas A&M-Florida game was seen by 4.5 million television viewers and 3.3 million households across the country. It was the most-watched college football game on Sept. 8.
NEXTMedia of Dallas conducted the broadcast media evaluation. Cook indicated that additional media analysis will be conducted in the future, given that ESPN’s College GameDay commercial featuring Texas A&M’s Midnight Yell Practice will continue to air throughout the college football season.