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Volume 24 No. 214
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TV Numbers Continue Playing Integral Role In Sponsorships For Lower-Tier Bowls

College bowl season is wrapping up, and the survival of some of the "inferior bowls requires a one-two business punch from television and sponsors," according to Geoff Baker of the SEATTLE TIMES. TV provides the "base numbers to lure the title sponsors and those companies throwing around extra cash to make the games work when the gate numbers don’t." For instance, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl averaged 1.5 million viewers on ESPN this year for Wyoming-Central Michigan, a jump from 1.1 million viewers that took in Idaho-Colorado last year and an "indication why the commission’s sponsorship is now sealed." Meanwhile, the Bahamas Bowl lost title sponsor Popeyes prior to this season's game and "did not find a replacement." The QSR had been the game’s sponsor since its '14 inception, but the bowl has been "plagued by dismal attendance." So there is a "floor as to how bad sponsors will let a bowl get before bolting." Baker: "But we won’t know for a while whether this foreshadows any emerging trend. ... For this entire bad bowl thing to work, the TV numbers have to be there to offset the half-empty stadiums and keep sponsors interested." Up to now, at least, the system has "worked rather well on the business side" (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/1). The Ringer's Bill Simmons during yesterday's UCF-Auburn Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl tweeted that sponsoring games "definitely works because I’ve wanted to eat Chick-fil-A for the last 75 minutes" (TWITTER.com, 1/1).