Wednesday, August 21, 2013

AdvoCare Pulls Out As Title Sponsor Of Bowl Game

Shreveport has its Independence back... albeit, through AdvoCare pulling OUT as title sponsor following this year's game. After the 2013 AdvoCare V100 Bowl this December, the nutritional supplement provider founded in Shreveport will end its tenure as the title sponsor of the 11th oldest bowl game in college football.

Bowl officials are working on obtaining a new title sponsor for the 2014 game and beyond.   The news of AdvoCare exiting as the title sponsor comes on the heels of the bowl announcing conference tie-ins through 2019 with the SEC and ACC.  According to my source, the bowl game is financially stable and has enough money in reserve to stage a 2014 game without a title sponsor, although it's obvious a new title sponsor would keep the cash in reserve, preserving the financial stability for the near future. 


Today's announcement that AdvoCare is the title sponsor for the 2014 "AdvoCare Texas Kickoff" in Houston pitting LSU vs. Wisconsin is the truest indication of where AdvoCare will spend their corporate dollars in the collegiate realm.

AdvoCare has been a good partner for the local bowl, repaying a loan to the city of Shreveport that was necessary when PetroSun defaulted on payment to the bowl.  The city issued a $500,000 loan to the bowl game to provide sufficient funds to pay the 2007 teams (Alabama vs. Colorado).  In addition, AdvoCare floated the note to replace the worn-out turf inside Independence Stadium at a cost of approximately $500,000.  My source indicates the bowl has paid AdvoCare back for their assistance with both loans. 

AdvoCare had revenue of less than $100,000,000 when they took over title sponsorship in 2009... sources indicate the company's revenue has grown at least five-fold over the last four years. 

AdvoCare's CEO Richard Wright, a Shreveport native who owned a home here until just a few weeks ago, said this past March the company wanted to see the bowl grow, not only with it's financial payout but also in stature. Wright hoped a Hotel Tax earmarked for the Bowl would provide funding for a larger payout to premier conference members.  With the largess of cash, Wright and Bowl officials wanted to climb the pecking order in a pair of BCS Conferences bowl selection process. 

State Representative, Barbara Norton, with backing from the local hotel/motel association, killed the tax proposal (House Bill 179) in May before the state legislature could send the bill to Caddo and Bossier parish voters.  The bill, introduced by Rep.'s Henry Burns and Roy Burrell, was intended to be voted on by the populace. Instead of deciding for themselves, the electorate had their choice made by Norton. 

From our blog, May 6th, 2013:

The AdvoCare V100 Bowl's lifeline, House Bill 179, authored by State Representative Henry Burns, R-Haughton, was killed Thursday afternoon by a committee spearheaded by Rep. Barbara Norton also of Shreveport.  The proposal called for a 1.5% increase in Shreveport-Bossier's Hotel/Motel Tax, with those funds earmarked to boost the AdvoCare V100 Bowl game's ability to land top-tier teams from a powerhouse conference.

This will be the fifth, and last year, with AdvoCare as the title sponsor. During the aforementioned Richard Wright press conference in March, Wright also announced the bowl's name change.  Known as the Independence Bowl since inception in 1976, the bowl's sponsor has preceded "Independence Bowl" in the title. For example, "Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl; Sanford Independence Bowl; MainStay Investments Independence Bowl; PetroSun Independence Bowl---and prior to this past March, the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl.  Wright made it known that his company was footing the bill and wanted more, "bang for their buck," by changing the official title of the game to the "AdvoCare V100 Bowl," eliminating Independence all-together.

Memphis has their Liberty Bowl... here in Shreveport, it's safe to say Independence has been granted yet again.