One blowout loss could puncture Deion Sanders and the University of Colorado’s media balloon. But so far, Coach Prime’s five-year, $29.5 million contract looks like the best investment the school has ever made.
Over a three-week period from Sep. 1-22, Sanders generated $45,712,458 in earned media for the public university, according to Apex Marketing Group.
That’s the estimated value of all the TV, radio, print/digital, and social media coverage around the program as the Buffs raced out to a 3-0 start — and Sanders became the talk of the sports world.
The media drumbeat reached a crescendo last Saturday as both ESPN’s “College GameDay” and Fox Sports’ “Big Noon Kickoff” descended on the school’s Boulder campus, along with A-List guests like The Rock.
Ditto for ESPN’s “First Take” and “The Pat McAfee Show,” which broadcast live on location from campus the previous day. Not to mention visits by CBS News’ “60 Minutes” and Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks.
But 19th-ranked Colorado faces its toughest test so far with 10th-ranked Oregon. The media likes winners — and doesn’t have as much time for losers.
“As he wins, it grows. It seems like every game, it gets bigger and bigger for him and for Colorado,” Apex president Eric Smallwood told Front Office Sports. “But this is a huge test this week. If Colorado loses, do we start to see a wane? We’ll be testing that.”
Officials from the University of Colorado Boulder told the Daily Camera their own research indicated Sanders had generated earned media with an equivalent ad value of $90.55 million.
“CU Boulder has been the epicenter of the national sports world, which has provided unprecedented exposure for our university across the country,” said Chancellor Phil DiStefano in a statement. “I am impressed by the excitement that has permeated campus, which is less quantifiable but certainly as important as record-setting merchandise and ticket sales.”
ESPN’s sister Disney network ABC should draw massive TV numbers for its telecast of the Buffs vs. Ducks this Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, FS1’s “Undisputed Live” with Skip Bayless, Michael Irvin, and Keyshawn Johnson will travel to Boulder for a live show next Friday.
FOS Staff Writer David Rumsey contributed to this report.