BSU brand flying high

December 9, 2008
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hokeBall State University, thanks to its football team, is flying high. The school has received more television exposure in the last 60 days than it has gotten in the last decade as its football team rattled off 12 straight victories and ended up 12-1. Last night, BSU football Coach Brady Hoke was featured on The David Letterman Show, which airs nightly on CBS. But the team has been in the spotlight longer than that.

The Ball State victory over Central Michigan Nov. 19 televised live on ESPN2 ranks as the most viewed and highest rated college football game ever for a Tuesday or Wednesday night on the network. The 1.6 rating means the game was watched in more than 1.6 million homes nationwide. The game also ranks as the Mid-American Conference’s most viewed regular season college football game ever on ESPN or ESPN2.

Earlier this year, the Sept. 5 (Friday night) ESPN televised game between Ball State and Navy was viewed in 1.2 million homes, making it the third most watched game involving a Mac team in the last four seasons. Due to the MAC contract with ESPN, and the Cardinals’ stellar season, Ball State was on national television more than most Big Ten teams. Average attendance for BSU’s six home games is up this year, near 20,000 per six home games.

Ball State Athletic Director Tom Collins is quick to point out the football team’s success has benefitted the school far beyond athletics. “We used the weekend of the Navy game to publicly kick-off our Ball State Bold Campaign,” Collins said.

The $200 million capital campaign will go for almost entirely academic uses, including funding scholarships, endowed chairs and professorships among other things.

“To have an alum like David Letterman talk about you every week doesn’t hurt, and we’ve used the attention to put the spotlight on the larger university,” said Collins, who came to BSU from Arizona State three years ago.

BSU officials are already drawing up a game plan to capitalize on this year’s success. Collins said BSU will launch a more aggressive marketing campaign for next season targeting not only all of Delaware County, but the Indianapolis metro area and Ft. Wayne as well.

 Maintaining momentum is one thing, keeping Hoke, who has also been mentioned for at least two job openings, is another. "They'll have to be creative to get him as much money and autonomy as possible," said Milt Thompson, president of locally based Grand Slam Cos. "Brady Hoke right now is the face of the program, so they need to do what they can to keep him."
  • This has been such a great season, I would hate for it to all go down the drain a few years down the road. Brady is a Ball State guy and I hope they can find enough to make him happy for at least a few more years. He actually likes it in Muncie, and doesn't expect to get rich - although $240,000 (as a base salary) does go a ways in Muncie. While I don't expect 12-1 seasons every year, it would be nice to keep Ball State in high standing with the MAC -and raise the profile of the entire conference. Brady gets it. He played at Ball State on a darn good team and has the pride to do things right. He also knows how to recruit. Let's hope the school makes him feel wanted. And for crying out loud, build the guy his own office!
  • His ability to Keep Hoke will be Collins' first big test. Let's hope he passes. Otherwise it will be back to the drawing board, and it's not easy to get lightning to strike twice.

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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.