Butler University lost the NCAA national championship basketball game Monday night, but the small, private university nestled
on the city’s near-north side has won a load of publicity.
“It’s really been unbelievable,” said Butler President Bobby Fong. “I’m not sure anyone could have predicted this.”
As a result of its basketball team’s success, Butler landed on the front page of USA Today twice, and was featured in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal as well as CNN, ESPN, CBS and ABC in the last 10 days.
Fong intends to commission a study of how much that media exposure is worth to the university, and hopes to have that data later this spring or summer.
Butler’s own Web sites have been overloaded at times since the team stormed through the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight and into the Final Four of the NCAA’s 65-team men's tournament.
The Butler.edu site even crashed for a while after the Bulldogs beat Kansas State University to qualify for the Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium, said Scott Kincaid, Butler's chief information officer.
The school's main Web site, which averages about 6,000 visits daily, registered a record 137,000 visits on March 27, the day Butler beat Kansas State. On April 3, the day Butler beat Michigan State, the site scored more than 103,000 visits.
On Monday, traffic was way up again, registering 131,200 visits. Kincaid said Butler’s Web traffic on Tuesday is still trending far above normal.
“Those visits are to the school’s main Web site, not the athletics site,” Kincaid explained. “Visitors came looking for general information about the university, its academics and admissions information.”
The school’s athletics site registered 48,000 visits the day of the Sweet 16 victory over Syracuse University and more than 83,000 visits two days later when Butler beat Kansas State.
During the Michigan State game, the school’s athletics Web site scored 91,000 visits. On Monday, it tallied 126,000 visits, 20 times higher than the site would normally see, according to Butler officials.
The traffic was so high for the Web sites, new servers and other hardware had to be added to carry the load, Kincaid said.
“To accommodate the spike, [we] increased the Web server processing power five-fold, added duplicate database servers, added a Web page caching device, and expanded the Internet pipe,” Kincaid explained.
Kincaid is hopeful that interest in Butler will continue to be elevated even after last night’s 61-59 loss to Duke University.
“What really amazed us was how many people logged onto our Web site during the game,” Kincaid said. “It shows how media-consumption habits are changing. It’s not enough for people to simply see something on TV any more. They’re constantly looking for more information, and we’re doing our best to provide them all the information about Butler we can.”