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Northwestern University’s two-year-old push to brand itself as “Chicago’s Big Ten Team” appears to be paying off.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that the school has more than tripled its corporate sponsorship revenue, increased football and basketball operating income and dramatically increased the number of season-ticket holders.

New York-based Scarborough Research says more than a million Chicago-area residents now say they have watched, listened to or attended a NU game — up 50 percent from five years ago.

That count, though, is still far less than the fan base of the area’s pro teams — led by the Chicago Bears with 4.6 million fans in the Scarborough report.

Crain’s estimates Northwestern is spending about $1 million a yea on the marketing campaign.

Original story

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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