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May 4, 2017

by Brady Gillum

NFL Draft Draws Eyes to Western Michigan University

When former Western Michigan University wide receiver Corey Davis was selected No. 5 overall in last week's NFL draft, hundreds of media outlets mentioned the college, giving it a big boost in free marketing and public relations.

As it turns out, performing well on the field means a university will perform well off the field.

“When we saw  Corey Davis drafted No. 5 overall  last week, we said, ‘Wow, that's probably going to garner them some unexpected but significant national exposure,'” said Eric Wright, the president and director of research at Joyce Julius and Associates, an Ann Arbor-based sports marketing research firm.

Over a four-day period, WMU got about $15 million in free media exposure, Wright said.

Wright's company found ESPN and NFL Network accounted for more than 10 minutes of screen time. Hundreds of television programs, newspapers and social media also mentioned the university.

“Local programming in 28 states made reference to Western Michigan those four days following the draft. Now how else is Western Michigan going to be mentioned in 28 different states over a weekend like that?” he said.

He said the free media attention is good for a school.

“It's another chance for a potential student, even a potential faculty member, to hear that name and go, ‘Oh yeah, Western, they're out there, I need to look at them,'” Wright said.

“Part of our strategic plan is to increase enrollment in out-of-state areas,” WMU Executive Director of University Relations Cheryl Roland said, “and it's wonderful to have that kind of name recognition.”

Davis played for the WMU Broncos football team the last four years. He was drafted to the Tennessee Titans.