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The Business of Being Cinderella: Mason Releases Study on Final Four Impact

Mar. 14, 2008

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With the start of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament just days away, everyone is wondering who could be this year’s Cinderella. George Mason University’s stunning Final Four run in 2006 made the team an instant fan favorite and the university a household name. Fortunately for Mason, which was highly regarded as the region’s most up-and-coming university, good things were already happening. But new data shows the Final Four appearance put its progress on fast forward.

Robert Baker, director of the Center for Sport Management at Mason, examined the economic and social impacts of the Final Four appearance across the university. What he found is good news for the next university that wears the glass slipper.

Since the 2006 NCAA tournament:

• Admissions inquiries increased 350 percent.

• Out-of-state applications increased 40 percent and out-of-state students now make up 25 percent of the freshman class.

• Total freshman applications increased 22 percent from the 2005-06 academic year.

• Active alumni increased 25 percent, while online registration rose 52 percent.

• (the official athletic department Web site) page views increased 503 percent, while unique viewers increased 702 percent in March 2006.

• Patriot Club fundraising increased 52 percent over the previous year, and has continued to climb.

• Men’s basketball games have consistently had CAA record-setting attendance for home games in 2007 and 2008, and season ticket sales doubled in one year.

• An estimated $677,474,659 in free media was earned by Mason during the 2006 NCAA Tournament through national, regional and local broadcast (including games), print and electronic media coverage.

If you are interested in speaking with Robert Baker about his research and the potential economic impact of an NCAA Tournament appearance on a university, please contact Jennifer Edgerly at, 703-993-8699.