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Expert: College Gameday in Kalamazoo could provide millions in direct PR value

WMU campus buzzing after news of College Gameday visit
WMU campus buzzing after news of College Gameday visit
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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - As excitement builds over College Gameday in Kalamazoo, we're learning just how powerful this kind of exposure could be for the city.

Newschannel 3 spoke with an advertising expert about it on Tuesday.

The general consensus is that this is huge.

This kind of national platform will likely have a multi-million dollar impact, not just on Western, but on Kalamazoo as a whole.

WMU will be at the center of the college sports universe come Saturday.

"ESPN College Gameday has really become a cultural phenomenon," said Dean Suarez-Starfeldt, the managing director of strategy for VML, a global ad agency in Kalamazoo. "They average nearly 2 million viewers per week for College Gameday so the audience is huge."

Suarez-Starfeldt says there has been research done on College Gameday and its impact on lesser-known football programs hosting the show for the first time.

"They found about $2.8 million in direct PR value, meaning if you were to pay for that in a direct way in terms of those impressions and that exposure for the school, it was around $3 million," he explained.

And the ripple effect of course will extend beyond that.

"It does a lot for the city, the hotels, the restaurants, people coming to Kalamazoo for the first time that have never experienced that, to discover Kalamazoo and to experience what we have as a culture I think that's huge," said WMU head coach P.J. Fleck.

"I think what we will see is a broader benefit to the community; a lot of people in those 2 million people that will be watching on Saturday, they may have never heard of Western Michigan University, they might not even have familiarity with Kalamazoo, so I think what we will see is a huge spike in Google searches for both Western Michigan and Kalamazoo on Saturday, and then it'll be interesting to look at that and see what happens there," said Suarez-Starfeldt.

And Sangren Plaza on Saturday morning is where it all begins.

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The plaza will open around 6 a.m. on Saturday to kick off a full day of festivities.

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