Frogs take Manhattan: TCU proves it can make it anywhere


NEW YORK—TCU took a bite of the Big Apple by placing large electronic billboards on Times Square while the Horned Frogs men’s basketball team was in the city this week to play in the National Invitation Tournament.

Texas Christian University marketing executives placed seven digital billboards in and around Times Square that post the school’s logo and bright purple and white colors before the masses who visited the iconic area over a five-day period.

“We don’t advertise on Times Square year round, but we wanted to make our presence known while we’re at the NIT,” said Katherine Polenz, who handles TCU’s institutional advertising. “We’ve also advertised in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta and the College World Series in Omaha in recent years. It’s an opportunity for TCU to step beyond the athletic realm. ”

Asked how much money TCU paid to place the signs in New York’s Times Square, Polenz declined to cite specifics.

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“They are pricey,” Polenz said. “I can’t give out a bottom-line number, but it’s all based on digital signage works and it’s based on traffic flow. It’s based on criterion such as traffic flow on Times Square on the days you’re there. We started the signs on Monday [March 27] and we will run through Friday [March 31].”

The signs were placed in and around the dates that TCU has played in the National Invitation Tournament for the first time in the school’s history. While important to the school’s sports goals, the trip to New York gave the school a chance to spread its message in a new locale. TCU played the maximum amount of games in the traditional tournament, a semifinal on Tuesday, March 28 and the March 30 final.. After defeating, Central Florida, 68-53, during Tuesday’s semifinal, the Horned Frogs advanced to the Thursday, March 30, game against Georgia Tech. The game was played after this issue went to press

Drew Martin, TCU’s associate athletic director for marketing, said the signs have been attention grabbers.

“We’ve gotten positive feedback,” he said.

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Martin said the signs reached “sports buffs and people all over the globe” as well as TCU “seniors, alums and donors.”

Martin said the signage in a high-traffic area is a great way to market a higher learning institution.

“Universities are smart to leverage that kind of visibility,” he said.

TCU also received some exposure early on March 30, on NBC’s Today Show. Some TCU cheerleaders and SuperFrog set up in front on the Today Show at 3 a.m. and got a choice media spot right in front of co-host Matt Lauer. Georgia Tech’s cheerleaders, positioned out of direct camera view for much of the shot, said they got there at 6 a.m.

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Story was updated to fix a confusing quote.