Top Gator Bowl Official Calls For More Money To Stay Relevant
Gator Bowl Sports President & CEO Rick Catlett said that the bowl game will "need a lot more infusion of revenue from the next title sponsor, ESPN and a better stadium deal with the city to stay financially solvent when contracts are up for renewal after this year’s game," according to Gene Frenette of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Catlett said, “We’re not going to continue doing what we’re doing now, which is just surviving and losing money.” The Jaguars last week became the first "major entity" to come to the bowl’s rescue by "taking over key components like game operations and group sales." The goal is to "significantly increase team payouts" by at least $2M to have "more attractive matchups and increase attendance." For the last three years, attendance has "taken an alarming nosedive, averaging just 40,873 fans." With contracts expiring for title sponsor TaxSlayer, ESPN and the lease agreement with the city, Catlett "insists the bowl needs a sponsor with deeper pockets and more financial assistance than just from the Jaguars to have long-term viability." Catlett: “We have to step up our game. We’re not going to be the Poulan Weed-Eater (Independence) Bowl. My instructions from our board is to move it forward or we’re done" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 4/20).