NCAA tournament could mean economic boost for IPFW

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) If IPFW earns a spot in the big dance, it would mean national exposure. If history repeats itself, university admission will spike and so will our local economy.

“We’ve been thinking this could be a possibility and we’re on the cusp of having it actually take place,” said Nicole Wilkins, Chief Communications Officer of IPFW.

Wilkins said winning Tuesday night could mean more applications and donors.

“There is a definite economic impact sometimes in the millions of dollars to the campus and university as a whole,” said Wilkins.

Florida Gulf Coast University went to the NCAA last year and can attest to that.

“All of a sudden, you know when I send my recruitors not, it’s not ‘where are you again?’ And they say ‘oh yeah, I’ve heard of you’ type of a thing, so you just can’t beat that publicity,” said Marc Laviolette, Director of Admissions for Florida Gulf Coast University.

As a result, the university saw between 20 and 25 percent more applications this year. It wasn’t just from basketball fans.

Fort Wayne’s visitor center says it wouldn’t take long for folks to make the connection.

“After a couple google searches, would show IPFW’s in Fort Wayne and it’d bring a great perception to our city,” said John Felts, Marketing and Communications Specialist.

“We had obviously all the news networks here, ESPN did some great stories on us and they can be a real friend to the university because they really like to highlight the underdogs. A lot of people didn’t know who we were nationally so that made the story even more compelling,” said Laviolette.

ESPN has already contacted IPFW.

“We’ve provided them kind of an overview of the campus, programs we offer and I think there’s an interest in who is IPFW,” said Wilkins. 

“We thought we were prepared for such a rapid increase, but we weren’t. We’ve been swamped this year just trying to keep up with the demand. So, if I was going to give a warning to any school, ramp up your staff, and your procedures to handle the increase,” said Laviolette.

“It’s something we’ve been thing about it for a while,” said Wilkins.

IPFW is already planning a send-off to the tournament, in case they win. More information will be released soon.


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