Payoff of hosting presidential debates worth more than money
- Officials at Washington University share the benefits of exposure and branding associated with hosting a national presidential debate, in a profile featured in the St. Louis Times-Dispatch.
- The school spent more than $5 million to upgrade and transform facilities for the Oct. 9 debate, its fifth overall, but say hosting an event with more than 80 million viewers provides immeasurable free air time.
- Security for the debate also increases security on and around the campus; beginning Oct. 8, only students, staff, and credentialed media and officials will be allowed onto the campus.
One official told the Times-Dispatch hosting a debate is a lot like hosting the Olympics, and from a place of schools constantly trying to stand out from peer institutions, a circus coming to town is an excellent resource in getting students and parents to take a second or third look at the campus.
It is a similar philosophy shared by Dillard University officials, who use lecture and event series to create earned media which would otherwise be well beyond the school's marketing price range. For smaller schools with trouble attracting attention for faculty and student success, a three-ring circus may prove a costly, but effective tool in the effort to gain more attention.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch Washington University touts hidden payoffs of an expensive presidential debate