Tuesday October 3, 2023

Montana Will Experience The ‘College GameDay’ Effect For First Time

  • ESPN College GameDay will make its inaugural trip to the state of Montana.
  • Visiting first-time locations has become a win-win situation for both ESPN and schools.
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October 3, 2023 | Podcast
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In late October, Montana state senator Ellie Boldman said she was drafting a bill to entice ESPN “College GameDay” to visit the state for the first time. It appears the publicity alone worked its magic.

ESPN announced the GameDay bus is heading to Bozeman, Montana, on Saturday for a raucous local rivalry: Montana vs. Montana State. It will be GameDay’s second FCS matchup of the season — a rarity in the show’s history. 

Normally, the vast majority of GameDay locations are top Power 5 matchups. But this year, it’s embraced first-time hosts often from lower tiers, including App State, Jackson State, and Kansas.

The strategy has created a win-win relationship for both ESPN — which has enjoyed heightened ratings — and schools, Front Office Sports previously reported. 

  • Host campuses earn “immeasurable” marketing for their athletic program, school, and surrounding community.
  • They enjoy both an immediate economic impact from fans and GameDay staffers flocking to their town, and an indirect long-term impact that comes from advertising the area for potential visitors and future students.
  • Jackson State, for example, estimated that GameDay was part of a weekend that earned $8.9 million for Jackson, Mississippi.

“The amount of money the free exposure provides for the universities featured on its program is enormous, coupled with the economic benefit for the private sector, including our hotels, restaurants, bars and related sales of game day gear,” Boldman told 406 Sports in October. 

“It’s time for the State of Montana to be in that spotlight.”

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