NCAA Tournament appearance proves to be marketing boon for SFA, - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

NCAA Tournament appearance proves to be marketing boon for SFA, Nacogdoches

SFA Lumberjacks Men’s Basketball kept social media followers up to date on NCAA action. The effort didn’t go unnoticed. (Source: KTRE Staff) SFA Lumberjacks Men’s Basketball kept social media followers up to date on NCAA action. The effort didn’t go unnoticed. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Dr. Jason Reese, SFA assistant professor of Sports Business scrolls through some of the hundreds of thousands of comments posted on the Facebook page over the weekend. (Source: KTRE Staff) Dr. Jason Reese, SFA assistant professor of Sports Business scrolls through some of the hundreds of thousands of comments posted on the Facebook page over the weekend. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Sports Business is a popular course at SFA. Quite a few of the SFA basketball team take the classes. (Source: KTRE Staff) Sports Business is a popular course at SFA. Quite a few of the SFA basketball team take the classes. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

Stephen F. Austin State University, SFA’s men’s basketball team, and Nacogdoches were in the limelight this weekend with frequent mentions surrounding the NCAA Tournament coverage.

From Friday to Sunday, commentators stopped saying S.F. Austin and correctly referred to the school as SFA.

What will such 'correct' notoriety create for SFA, if anything at all? It's truly a sports marketing study.

SFA assistant professor Dr. Jason Reese knows the question he'll pose to his sports business students this week.  

"How did our marketing efforts on social media, specifically, engage fans in talking about SFA?” Reese said.

One way was as simple as a Facebook post of a Lumberjack bus leaving the hotel with a New York City police escort.

"They got within an hour got over a thousand likes. And at this point, it's Monday, it's got 2,000 likes, 144 shares,” Reese said.

Dig slightly deeper. A search of the school name shows hundreds of thousands taking notice.

"Just the newsfeed you have almost 400,000 posts,” Reese said,

Most of them concern the Lumberjack Basketball team.  Publications from “Sport's Illustrated” to the “New York Post” and every television station around wrote about them. Then there are grandmothers to hardened college basketball fans getting in on the hype.

"The night they beat West Virginia they gained almost 6,000 likes on their Facebook page overnight,” Reese said.

Riding the coattails was Nacogdoches in commentators' cross talk.

"They mentioned they'll be dancing in the streets of Nacogdoches,” Reese said.

The interest in this absolutely free form of advertisement was enough to gain the men's basketball marketing folks a high ranking.

"They were ranked number three in all 64 teams in the tournament in most viewed social media platforms,” Reese said. “They got number one in most engagement on Facebook."

But what's the payoff, besides feeling good about being a Lumberjack?  The water cooler debate was presented by SFA associate professor of marketing Dr. Joe Ballenger.

"If you think just because we won basketball to two levels, almost one, what's that translate into people applying for the school next year? I don't know,” Ballenger said.

The answer may surface. In the meantime, Lumberjack fans were willing to wait at two in the morning in a cold parking lot to welcome their team back. Yes, that too can be found on social media.

Riding the coattails was Nacogdoches in commentators' cross talk.

Among those tweeting about the SFA Lumberjacks, specifically Thomas Walkup, was former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal.

Also SFA reached out to professional wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin. He was offered a seat with the SFA fans. Unfortunately, he didn't make it.

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