Release Date: March 17, 2015
BUFFALO, N.Y. – University at Buffalo pride is in full force with Bulls supporters sharing their excitement as the men’s basketball team prepares for its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, commonly referred to as the “Big Dance.”
Ticket sales have been brisk for the small allotment UB received for its fan section in Columbus, Ohio’s Nationwide Arena.
“The phones have been ringing off the hook. We’ll definitely sell out of our allotment,” Todd Garzarelli, UB’s senior associate athletic director for external affairs, said Monday afternoon. UB received 550 tickets, 100 of which were set aside for UB students. Priority for the remainder was given to Blue and White Fund donors and members of the UB Basketball Excellence Fund.
For those who can’t make it to the tournament, alumni chapters are organizing viewing parties in cities across the U.S. in cities including Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Tampa Bay, Florida; Washington, D.C.; New York City; Albany, New York; Rochester, New York; and, of course, Buffalo.
Interaction on UB’s social media channels has been significant since the weekend. UB’s Facebook post from the “Selection Sunday” viewing party at Santora’s Pizza Pub & Grill in Williamsville reached more than 144,000 people and garnered thousands of likes, shares or comments. The video has received more than 50,000 views.
In addition, more than 100,000 alumni received a message from UB President Satish K. Tripathi on Sunday congratulating the team.
The Twitter hashtag “UBDancing” is also grabbing attention, having reached potentially more than 2.5 million Twitter users through Monday.
Here’s a sampling of what some UB fans are saying on Twitter:
And it’s not just the UB community that’s taken notice. UB has garnered significant media interest since punching its ticket to the tournament. In fact, there have been more than 4,200 media stories — and counting — on UB since Saturday, the day the Bulls captured the MAC title. That’s an ad equivalency value of $11.9 million. UB has received mentions in numerous major national media outlets, including ESPN, The Huffington Post and USA Today.
To put in perspective just how much attention comes with making the NCAA Tournament, consider the following: on a typical Sunday during the season, Brian Wolff, the communications director for men’s basketball, fields around five media requests for interviews. This past Sunday, fresh off the team’s first-ever MAC tournament title and subsequent automatic bid to the Big Dance, Wolff received more than 150 media requests.
That increase in exposure also helps with student recruitment, says Lee Melvin, UB’s vice provost for enrollment management.
“When UB athletic teams make history, as recently observed by the success of our invitation to the Big Dance, the entire institution benefits from the increased spotlight on the campus. Nationally and internationally, students who are seriously considering enrolling at UB or considering applying can join the excitement of being a member of our community of scholars and scholar athletes,” Melvin says.