Bears keep dancing despite loss to Volunteers | News
The Mercer Bears received a standing ovation as fans watched their team's hopes of Sweet 16 victory fade away in Mercer Village Sunday.
"I feel so proud for them....to just make it this far is an honor and I think they should be proud of themselves," J.L. Thompson, a Mercer student said.
That doesn't mean they're not disappointed, but Bears fans say seeing the team make the tournament and beat 3rd seed Duke puts the school in the spotlight.
"I think just the national recognition is gonna expand our fan base and hopefully it will trickle down to the other sports too," said Mary Alice Murphy, a Mercer student and golf team member. "I know having a second-year football [team] in the SoCon is going to be great as well and maybe people will quit asking me where is Mercer again."
Mercer's win against Duke didn't just help them pack out Mercer Village and help them gain a few new fans locally. It's helping them gain a whole new audience through the Web.
"Our admissions page crashed when we beat Duke. We gained so much popularity just from being in the tournament," Mercer student Betsy Swanson said.
The rest of the school's website is also getting unprecedented traffic.
Mercer.edu got 72,000 hits in the hour after the game.
That's a little less than half the monthly average for the site.
Friday, the site also got 168,000 unique page viewers,
93 percent of those were visiting the site for the first time.
And that popularity spread to social media, where #mercer was tweeted more than 300 times an hour Friday Night.
"I think they should have known who the bears were all along because our guys have been good for a long time, but now with the NCAA they're just showing out and I think everyone's going to want to come to Mercer," said April Cantrell who works in the university's registrar office.
It's the exposure and the strength of the team that still has true fans saying "Go Bears anyway!"