SBD/Issue 145/Collegiate Sports

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  • ESPN Moves Music City Bowl To Primetime On December 27

    ESPN Will Air Music City Bowl From
    LP Field In Nashville On December 27
    The Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl this year is moving to primetime and to its "earliest date on the calendar," as ESPN will air the game from LP Field at 7:15pm on December 27, according to Mike Organ of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. The game was played on December 31 each of the last two years, and the decision to move it "ultimately was made by ESPN, which considered there were no other bowls being played" on December 27. It "remains to be seen what effect the early date will have on the local game's image and attendance." Music City Bowl President & CEO Scott Ramsey: "I think time will tell, but I also think it's a great opportunity for us. Our game has grown to the point where ESPN feels like it has the potential to deliver to them some really good value on primetime." Ramsey said that the move is an "experiment" for ESPN. Organ notes while there will not be another college football game that night, the bowl game will go head-to-head with Cowboys-Redskins on NBC's "Sunday Night Football." Ramsey: "We'll be against one NFL game, but that typically hasn't dampened the ratings from ESPN's perspective in the past few years when they've done that." Meanwhile, Organ notes the '09 Music City Bowl will be the "final game in which Gaylord Hotels is the title sponsor," as Franklin American Mortgage "will become the lead sponsor for the bowl game" in '10 (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 4/16).

    VIVA LAS VEGAS: In Las Vegas, Ron Kantowski writes with Maaco Tuesday agreeing to a three-year deal with an option for a fourth to title sponsor the Las Vegas Bowl, the game is "assured short-term survival." The game previously was sponsored by Pioneer, and "losing a title sponsor at this late date didn't seem like a positive development for a second-tier bowl game trying to stay afloat in choppy economic seas." But Las Vegas Bowl Exec Dir Tina Kunzer-Murphy said that "securing a three-year sponsorship with a well-recognized company such as Maaco ensures [the bowl] will have a bright future." Kantowski writes next year, when "virtually all of these sponsorships besides those of the BCS bowls are up for renewal, Las Vegas' preemptive sponsorship strike will be all that and a bag of Tostitos" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 4/16). Also in Las Vegas, Ed Graney writes the Maaco sponsorship "appears a more stable deal" than the Pioneer pact. Kunzer-Murphy: "I can see where everyone has to look outside the box for sponsors in these times. But we weren't going to lower our standards" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 4/16).

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