Richard III: Publicity is equivalent of £2m of advertising for Leicester University
The attention of the world media may have died down – but Leicester University has said coverage of its Richard III project has provided the equivalent of £2million worth of advertising.
The world's press gathered at the university this month to hear the amazing revelations of the Greyfriars dig team.
As lead archaeologist Richard Buckley confirmed the skeleton found at the city council car park was that of Richard III, cameras beamed the news live across the world.
"The main benefit of this project to the university is in terms of reputation," said Richard Taylor, deputy registrar and director of corporate affairs at the university.
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"So, for example, we've estimated the print media coverage would have cost £2 million to purchase as advertising."
The University estimate comes at the same time as revealing it has spent £114,050 towards the dig and subsequent analysis of the remains.
Included in the total was staff time which came to £23,735, and £2,578 to re-park the council staff cars which would normally have used the Greyfriars car park.
Mr Taylor said the cash came from the university's central contingencies budget, but included £1,300 in donations.
He also reiterated the fact no money had been received as part of the exclusive Channel 4 documentary agreement.
He said: "The university has always seen this as a research project.
"We had a theory – was King Richard III still buried at Greyfriars? – and we set out to locate the friary and hopefully his grave.
"Conducting world-changing research such as this, alongside inspirational teaching, is what universities are for.
"We've been asked if we were paid by Channel 4. The answer is no. We worked with Channel 4 so the public could see the television programme about our exciting research."
The total cost of the project was £165,633 – which included £48,518 for the excavation itself and £94,115 for the scientific analysis which followed.
The Richard III Society contributed £18,083 to the dig.
A spokesperson for Leicester City Council said it spent £28,000 on the project, which included its contribution to the archaeological research excavation, the costs associated with opening up the Greyfriars site to the public on open days during the excavation, and the costs of protecting the grave area including erecting a marquee.
Leicester Shire Promotions also gave £5,000 to the project, and Leicester Adult School pledged £500.
Martin Peters, chief executive of Leicester Shire Promotions, said: "The board of Leicester Shire Promotions received a briefing from Philippa Langley (of the Richard III Society) and immediately recognised the potential of this project.
"Support towards the dig was offered on the clear understanding that national TV coverage could be guaranteed.
"Clearly, the outcome is already having huge impact on Leicester and Leicestershire's profile around the world.
"Tourism in the city and county is already worth over £1.4 billion per year to the economy and we're confident with the developments and activity promoting the Richard III story, the growth in the visitor economy will be substantial."