When College GameDay comes to town, the community comes to life!
If you’ve ever questioned if sports can bring a community together, the events of last week are a great reference in support of that statement. ESPN’s College GameDay announced on Sunday, October 20, that they’d be visiting South Dakota State University on Saturday, October 26, for the Dakota Marker game against North Dakota State University.
The stars aligned for this opportunity to come to Brookings, South Dakota. College GameDay is a national television show that airs live from the site of a premiere college football matchup every Saturday during the season. They bring their entire production crew, stage, talent and attention to the local community they visit every week.
Why was this a big deal for Brookings? Not only did SDSU receive a lot of national attention, but so did our local community as ESPN featured local favorites, including the SDSU Dairy Bar, on their nationally-televised broadcast. ESPN shined a spotlight on the city and the entire state of South Dakota. It was estimated that $1.5 million in advertising value is generated for the city that hosts the show every week.
The football game sold out the day after the announcement – a first for Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium since the renovations a few years ago – and people traveled from all over the United States to visit our community for the show. There are people who follow the show around every week, including a couple from Oregon that were featured on the broadcast. These travelers bring dollars into our community and support our local businesses.
Needless to say, there was excitement in the air of our community and the show brought an electricity to town that hasn’t been noticed due to a national event before. Many people were talking about going to the show, waiting in line in the wee hours of the morning to get a spot up front in the background of the TV cameras, and making additional plans to be on campus for the event.
I took a stroll through the Campus Green that hosted the event with the Campanile in the background. There were food trucks lined up in the nearest parking lot, Pizza Hut handing out free pizza, Coca-Cola handing out free pop, and homemade signs everywhere. The signs are common to College GameDay as people angle to get noticed in the background of the live broadcast.
This really was a once-in-a-lifetime event as the show has never been to South Dakota before and there’s no telling if or when they might ever return. Not only was it great for the national spotlight to be on our proud community of Brookings, it was also an experience that might never be available in the state again for many, many years. I know I enjoyed it and made the most of this opportunity and I hope many of you did, too!
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