UCF's undefeated run to an American championship, a Peach Bowl win over SEC West champion Auburn was the best season in school history. The Knights were the talk of the nation through early January, especially after the school claimed a national championship in the wake of the Peach Bowl win.
But exactly how much talking was going on, and what was it worth to the school?
Earlier this month, UCF released a report claiming the end of its 2017 season and the subsequent aftermath was worth $171,079,417 in equivalent advertising.
That's adding up three nationally-televised games -- the War on I-4 win over USF, the AAC title game defeat of Memphis and the Peach Bowl -- which drew a combined 16.694 million and the equivalent of "more than" $50 million. According to the school, you would have to pay more than $100 million to acquire the same level of attention through 30-second advertisement purchases.
Additionally, UCF says its firm monitored all 210 local television markets plus national outlets ranging from ESPN to the Weather Channel and found nearly 2 million total exposures, which equates to $8.764 million in advertising value.
Moving on, UCF found it was mentioned in more than 6,000 print news stories across 3,000 publications across the United States and Canada, generating more than 256 million mentions of the UCF brand and an exposure value of $6.619 million.
But all of that traditional media exposure paled in comparison to the Internet. UCF says it generated more than 3 billion impressions through 51,000 online articles and 655 million impressions through 160,000 social media posts (including 138,000 tweets), which added up to more than $105 million in equivalent exposure.
It's worth noting that UCF used the same firm -- Joyce Julius & Associates -- that conducted a similar tabulation for Western Michigan in 2016. That study found that WMU's entire 2016 season -- from September all the way through wide receiver Corey Davis's No. 5 overall selection in the NFL Draft -- was worth $69 million. But a smaller time frame was now worth two and a half times more to UCF.
Here's how Joyce Julius explained itself after the Western Michigan study:
To collect the data, Joyce Julius & Associates used industry-best practices and proprietary calculators, gleaning exposure information/values across four mediums: television – game broadcasts, TV news coverage, print media and internet news.
I'm no mathematician, but Joyce Julius's calculation found $87 million worth of exposure across 51,000 online articles which, according to my calculator, equates to more than $1,700 per article. That seems... high.
Either way, the study finds that the Knights' football success and the subsequent national championship debate pushed the UCF brand onto media outlets -- ranging from the Toronto Sun to Fox News and thousands of outlets in between -- that never would've publicized the school otherwise.