SBD/15/Collegiate Sports

GALLERY FURNITURE FACES CHALLENGE AS NEW TX BOWL SPONSOR

          Gallery Furniture Owner Jim McIngvale said Tuesday that
     his company "will be the title sponsor" of a college bowl
     game in Houston "at a cost of" about $2M over four years,
     according to Neal Farmer of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  The game
     will be called the galleryfurniture.com Bowl and, "pending
     NCAA certification," will debut December 26, 2000, in the
     Astrodome, with hopes of "eventually" moving it to the
     Houston NFL expansion team's stadium.  But Farmer writes
     that the new bowl game "faces many of the problems" the
     Bluebonnet Bowl -- last played in '87 when it drew 23,282 --
     "found to be insurmountable."  One is a December 26 date
     that "would require out-of-town fans to be away from home
     for Christmas," which "may force the bowl to be dependent on
     local ticket sales."  While "no TV deal" is in place for
     2000, talks are taking place with Fox, Turner and ESPN.  The
     game "has no conference tie-ins," but bowl promoter Jerry
     Ippoliti "has talked with the commissioners of several
     conferences," including the SEC, Big 12, Conference USA,
     Mountain West and the WAC (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/15). 

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