Published March 17, 2015
UB 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’ 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.
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 120,000 people and garnered thousands of likes, shares or comments. The video has received more than 45,000 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” also is grabbing attention, with the potential to reach more than 2.5 million Twitter users by the end of the week.
Here’s a sampling of what some UB fans are saying on Twitter:
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, 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,” says Melvin.