A Winning Match: ESPN & Louisville
In a recent presentation to donors and alumni, University of Louisville president and economist, Dr. James Ramsey gave what most thought would be a gloom and doom â€śstate of the universityâ€ť address.Â While government funding and support from the State of Kentucky are certainly in decline, Ramseyâ€™s presentation was surprisingly upbeat.Â Freshmen test scores were up dramatically.Â The graduation rate was stronger than ever, and the research budget had quintupled since 1998.Â
As if that werenâ€™t enough good news, the university was recently invited to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, and the football team scored a victory in the Sugar Bowl.Â While he may have been attributing the universityâ€™s wave of good fortune to more benevolent sources, those in the know say itâ€™s a direct result of their strengthening relationship with ESPN.Â In a fascinating article from The New York Times, Steve Eder, Richard Sandomir and James Andrew Miller examine the valuation benefits for a university and itâ€™s sports teams in such a partnership.
â€śOver the past dozen years, to feed its unending appetite for live football, ESPN has made Louisville Cardinals midweek games a mainstay in prime time. In turn, Louisville has made exposure on ESPN the centerpiece of a campaign to rise above its commuter-school roots and become a powerhouse in college sports.â€ť