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Advocare Bowl's last game is tomorrow - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Advocare Bowl's last game is tomorrow, bowl officials still confident about future

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTBS) -

For nearly 40 years, the Independence Bowl has been a Shreveport tradition making the city the smallest market with a bowl game. Five years ago Advocare entered the picture as a title sponsor, changing the name and bringing major revenue. That'll end after 2013. Advocare will enter another market and drop the Independence Bowl. Foundation officials say it's not the end of the bowl but a new beginning.

"There's no doubt. The bowl is going to continue," John Hubbard, the bowl's chairman, said.

Hubbard admits losing Advocare has its disadvantages. After all, the sponsor contributes a million dollars to each bowl.

"It's a notable financial loss, but we've gone several years without a sponsor there are ways to do that," Hubbard said.

Hubbard doesn't plan to function sponsor-less. He says the foundation has already met with potential household name sponsors. Meetings were held recently, and the foundation seems willing to negotiate a contract.

"We're not uncomfortable at all with a unique contract language, as long as we are achieving what we're trying to achieve," Hubbard said.

The foundation, which gave up the name Independence Bowl for Advocare, is trying to achieve more money. Hubbard wants to improve the bowl experience, which is expensive. He desires more events and activities for coaches, their families and players. This year, for example, teams enjoyed an exclusive Barksdale tour for the first time. They recently added  a trivia game show, among other entertainment. Advertising could get re-booted, too.

"A unique, what I might call, advertising promotional slant that we'll roll out at the proper time," Hubbard said.

There may be enough clout behind the foundation to get more cash. Even with the loss of Advocare, Hubbard says the foundation still has a six year contract with the ACC and SEC. That almost guarantees popular football match ups. 

"Assuming they have qualifiers," Hubbard said. "SEC had some unique challenges this year with historically very strong teams having less than strong years."
Hubbard says ESPN has also agreed to broadcast the bowl through 2019. He believes the bowl's normally low viewership, last year only attracted 1.7 million viewers, has been satisfactory.
"Match ups make a difference, but our bowl sponsors have been pleased with our ratings," Hubbard said.
The foundation is working hard to make the Shreveport's rare tradition even more pleasing.

"We have something, a bowl game, that is known nationwide," Hubbard said. "There's not many communities in the nation that can say that."

The Advocare Bowl plays a major part of the local economy. The Independence Bowl Foundation says the event can provide a $15 million economic impact on the area.

 

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