After going through two television contracts in two years, the Freedom Bowl announced Wednesday it had reached a three-year agreement with Mizlou Sports, an independent network.
Mizlou, which also will televise the 1986 Bluebonnet, Cherry, Independence and Hall of Fame Bowls, will reportedly pay the Freedom Bowl a base fee of $350,000 in addition to possible commercial revenue.
"They've offered us six 30-second commercial spots," Freedom Bowl director Tom Starr said. "That could mean $15,000-to-$20,000 per commercial. If we sell them all, it will be our most lucrative yet."
Of course, that's not much of a boast. Last year's contract with Lorimar grossed the Freedom Bowl around $350,000 while the game's 1984 agreement with TCS MetroSports didn't net a cent. TCS MetroSportsfiled for bankruptcy after the '84 Freedom Bowl.
Mizlou has been broadcasting bowl games for 24 years. Starr likes that history, that security.
"We got one of the better deals among all the non-New Year's Day bowls," Starr said. "Mizlou sells to the 'alphabet networks' (ABC, CBS, NBC) in local markets and also cable distributors. They estimate they reach 90-92% of all U.S. markets."
Starr also said Mizlou agreed to a buy-out clause if the Freedom Bowl makes a deal with one of the alphabet networks. "We really made out," he said.
Now, Starr can only hope people tune in to Mizlou on Dec. 30. Last year's Freedom Bowl garnered a Nielsen rating of just 2.6--down from 6.1 in 1984.
Starr also announced that Kevin Forth has been named new Freedom Bowl president, succeeding Joel Rothman.
Forth, president of an Orange County beer distributorship, formerly served as president of the Cal State Fullerton Titan Athletic Foundation, a fund-raising/booster club. He has also been a member of the Freedom Bowl board of the directors the last two years.
Bowl presidents traditionally serve one-year terms. Rothman spent two years in his position with the Freedom Bowl because his first term was just four months. The Freedom Bowl wasn't approved by the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. until August, 1984.