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Value of George Mason Final Four Run:

In thought this was pretty interesting--from an article on SI.com (seems to be subscriber only):

George Mason would have had to spend at least $50 million for a public-relations campaign that gave it the exposure it received during the tournament. That's the conservative estimate of C. Scott Bozman, an associate professor of business marketing at Gonzaga, who studied the benefits of hoops success at his own school. Robert Baker, a George Mason associate professor who will be undertaking a similar analysis this summer, says, "We should exceed that amount if we're thorough [in tracking every mention]."

The publicity has already shown returns. Student inquiries and tour sizes have tripled, and merchandise sales have skyrocketed. In March the campus bookstore sold more than $800,000 worth of George Mason clothing, compared with $625,000 worth in all of 2004-05.

The surge in Mason pride is expected to boost alumni donations as well. During the tournament more than 1,000 alums registered on the school's website, increasing the size of the database by 10%. Judith Jobbitt, the school's vice president for alumni affairs, says George Mason hopes to increase fund-raising for the coming year by 25%, to $25 million.

The admissions office was particularly aggressive in capitalizing on Mason mania. It sent a torrent of e-mails to students who had applied to the school, using the basketball news as an entree to tout the university's academic virtues. The school projects a 2% increase in the number of applicants who say yes to an acceptance letter. Flagel also expects to see an uptick of 10 points in the students' average SAT score.

Update:

Also, George Mason's basketball team and Jim Larranaga have been nominated for ESPY awards this year. Vote here. Oy, how do I choose between Larranaga and Bill Cowher for Coach of the Year?

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