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WICHITA, Kansas – Dozens of fans stayed up until until the early morning hours Sunday morning to give a heroes’ welcome to the Shockers basketball team that has captivated the nation on its run to the Final Four.
“It just goes to show you how fans are around here, and how supportive they are of this program,” Shockers forward Carl Hall said.
“The love that this program is shown by these folks is constant,” coach Gregg Marshall added. “It’s always there and you can count on it, like family.”
Fresh off Saturday’s 70-66 victory over Ohio State, the Shockers celebrated with about 100 fans at around 4 a.m. Sunday, looking forward to Saturday’s national semifinal against Louisville.
“When we tip that ball up, we believe that if we play well, we can beat anyone in the country,” Marshall said.
The Shockers’ success not only keeps the fans happy, but it also helps the school in a number of ways, including additional revenue and free publicity.
“You would likely see an enormous spike in annual giving, donations and enrollment [for Wichita State],” Missouri Valley Conference commissioner Doug Elgin said.
While there has been no analysis of the value of the free publicity Wichita State has received, several studies have been performed on other schools that made unexpected runs to the Final Four. A study by George Mason University of their Final Four run concluded the university received $677 million in free advertising, and officials at Butler University estimated they got $447 million in free publicity from the 2010 season, when they were a missed half-court shot away from winning the national championship.
“You cannot quantify the value of free advertising and what the positive public appeal is worth,” Elgin said.
The Shockers’ continued success also means more money for The Valley from the NCAA’s broadcasting rights deal. Their performance, coupled with Creighton’s participation in the round of 32, will earn the conference at least $11.2 million to be paid out over the next six years. Wichita State will receive the lion’s share, taking home about $245,000 off the top plus a percentage equal to the other teams in the MVC.