SPOKANE, Wash. - ABC's late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel has brought Gonzaga and Spokane into the limelight. The proof is the numbers... of Google searches.
"Looking at Google trends you can see spikes in the searches," said Visit Spokane's Kate Hudson. "People asking where Gonzaga is, where Spokane is."
Beyond basketball, the school, which is not well-known nationwide, has been the focus of 12 minutes of airtime on Kimmel's show.
"It is fantastic for Spokane, it is free advertising," said Hudson. "It's millions of dollars worth if you want to put a dollar figure on it."
Hudson said there is no way to know how many tourists or convention organizers mayhave seen what Spokane has to offer after the big shout-outs.
"Looks like Kentucky is the most interested state in what is going on at Gonzaga, followed by Idaho and Kansas," Hudson said.
Of course,you do not have to sell the Gonzaga story to current students with March Madness adding to the buzz of Kimmel.
"We don't have a football team, so basketball is our football team," said student Carissa Loftus. "The school spirit, the camaraderie, makes the experience that much more fulfilling."
Loftus said the school's nursing program attracted her, as did the winning basketball team.
Many others echoed her sentiment.
"It's about more than basketball, it's about the community that it creates, and how students are connected to it," said student Sarah Bodisco.
As the basketball continues its so far successful campaign to Minneapolis, students are following along closely.
"It brings everyone together," said student Katie Beliveau. "You can talk with anyone about basketball.
Gonzaga's administration declined to speak on Friday about the Kimmel excitement.
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