When Gonzaga basketball succeeds, Spokane succeeds


Gonzaga Athletic Director, Mike Roth, said it best in 1999.

“I think that over the next couple years we will see the effects of this,” said Roth following the Bulldogs first Elite Eight appearance. “We will see the effect in admissions, I think we will see the effect of the knowledge of who Gonzaga is, what we are, and where we are.”

Roth was spot on.

Applications at Gonzaga rose nearly 12 percent from fall of 1998 to fall of 1999 after the team reached the Elite Eight. During that same time frame, Gonzaga's endowment increased nearly 70 percent.

After reaching the tournament’s quarter-finals in 1999, student applications double by 2003-04 (resulting in an 65 percent increase in the freshman class size during that same time), as well as an increase in alumni donations from $8.4 million in 1996-97 to $16.5 million in 1999-2000.

But GU’s success expands beyond the classroom.

“We certainly know there’s a lot of attention on Gonzaga,” said Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for Visit Spokane, Tim Robinson. “We hope there is a ripple effect where people who are watching are hearing the name Spokane.”

Like Roth in 1999, Robinson was right.

According to Google Trends, Spokane was trending during Thursday's Sweet Sixteen game against West Virginia. It spiked even more during Saturday's Elite Eight game with Xavier. 

Specifically, people were searching “Where is Gonzaga?”

“What we really hope is that meeting planners will see Spokane when they look up Gonzaga,” said Robinson. “And they’ll look into Spokane a little more and say ‘Hey I’d like to hold my meeting or convention in that city.’”

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