SBJ/January 29 - February 4, 2001/This Weeks Issue

Conference signs deal with Host

The Division I-AA Gateway Football Conference, in an attempt to increase conference revenue, has agreed to a deal with Host Communications Inc. to market its syndicated football package.

Under terms of the partnership, Host will develop a marketing package and sell ads for the conference's football programming, five games that air regionally.

Both parties will receive a percentage of profits, said Mike Kern, assistant commissioner of the conference.

Host's work will be the conference's first step toward trying to make money off its football product, Kern said. In the past, instead of trying to maximize revenue through ad sales, the conference has primarily used in-house ads of the conference and its member institutions, he said. The conference's sponsors, State Farm Insurance and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, have had some television presence.

Conference officials hope Host will be able to expand its ad inventory, bring in enough money to offset the cost of producing the television package and perhaps even bring in a little extra revenue, Kern said.

The conference pays for its television production through annual stipends of more than $100,000 from the Bowl Championship Series. Kern said, however, that the money is only guaranteed to the conference for two more years.

The conference comprises seven schools: Illinois State, Indiana State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Southwest Missouri State, Western Illinois and Youngstown State.

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