As Fairleigh Dickinson University was closing in on its historic upset of No. 1 seed Purdue in last year’s NCAA Tournament, television sets across the country switched to the game. For nearly everyone, it was the first time seeing the Knights on television — providing exposure that even money can’t buy.
The big upset — and the two days of coverage that followed — brought the school billions of dollars’ worth of social media impressions, a dream scenario for any marketing department.
It also brought a challenge: How do you keep FDU in the spotlight after the Cinderella run is done?
The answer: You buy time and market yourself.
On Monday, FDU announced it will air eight college basketball games on the YES Network (six men, two women), starting with a Nov. 15 game against Saint Peter’s (the darlings of the 2022 NCAA Tournament).
FDU officials said the school will pay the production costs (approximately $7,500), but they feel it will be well worth the price, as it will serve as a marketing moment for the school — complete with in-game ads for the school.
FDU Athletic Director Bradford Hurlbut said it was an opportunity that was too good to pass up.
“It is a great honor for FDU to partner with the YES Network and deliver a robust basketball broadcast package nationwide,” he said. “After our men’s basketball team captivated the nation during March Madness and our women’s basketball program reached the WNIT for the second straight season, we’re thrilled to seize the moment and highlight our exceptional student-athletes, coaches and institution on a network with the prestige of YES.”
The school is taking full advantage of the opportunity, as it will hire top-level players to produce the broadcast. It wants to show off itself in the best possible light.
And, while the game will not attract the national attention the school received when it knocked off Purdue before falling to Florida Atlantic in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last spring, the audience it does attract likely will be from Jersey — which is just who the marketing department wants to reach.
That’s the way Hurlbut sees it.
“I look forward to providing a new outlet for our fans, family and friends to see the Knights compete on the hardwood and introduce a wider audience to the Burgundy and Blue,” he said.
And, while the game will provide exposure — it might provide a little cash, too.
FDU officials said they are considering offering some of the advertising airtime it receives to the school it is facing.
Either way, Hurlbut sees it as a way to keep FDU in the spotlight.
Here’s the schedule of games that will appear on YES:
- Nov. 15: FDU men vs. Saint Peter’s, 7 p.m.
- Nov. 29: FDU women vs. New Jersey Institute of Technology, 7 p.m.
- Dec. 21: FDU women vs. UNLV: 12:30 p.m.
- Dec. 21: FDU men vs. Fairfield, 7 p.m.
- Jan. 6: FDU men vs. Le Moyne, 2 p.m.
- Jan. 10: FDU men vs. Chicago State, 7 p.m.
- Jan. 13: FDU men vs. Stonehill, 1 p.m.
- Feb. 1: FDU men vs. Long Island University, 7 p.m.