Missy Setters, the long time executive director of the bowl, has refused to answer a public records request concerning the bowl emailed on August 28. The public records request was very basic:
1. What is required payout for both teams for bowl this year
2. Does the bowl have a name sponsor to pay the big bucks
If so, who and what amount
3. If no sponsor, can the game be played-in sense of payouts
4. If no sponsor, what is deadline to get sponsor
5. Is ESPN still on board?
No response from Missy, and a second email was sent on September 4 enclosing the August 28 request:
Can I get a response to this email
I will write a story-with or without
Again, no response by Missy to the E-mail.
Two calls to the I Bowl office were answered by an answering machine recording; the requests for a return call from Ms. Seeters were non productive.
An August 23 email to a local sports writer concerning the Bowl and its lack of a major corporate sponsor was answered as follows:
“Just spoke with Missy Seeters. The bowl folks continue in a title sponsor search but plans to have a bowl this December.”
The Independence Bowl, which was founded in 1976, has now had 7 corporate sponsors: Poulan (1990-97), Sanford (1998-2000), Mainstay Suites (2001-2003), Petro Sun (2006-2008), Advocare (2009-2013), Duck Commander (2014), and Company World (2015-16).
The required payoff for the I Bowl was raised to $1.2 million in 2015; that is the required amount for this years game. The I Bowl website does not list any 2017 corporate partners. The 2016 partners included the City of Shreveport, The Caddo Parish Commission, The Louisiana Office of Tourism, Willis-Knighton Health System, The Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation, Suddenlink and Mattress Firm. The sponsorships for the 2017 Bowl are not listed on the website.
At the city council meeting on September 12 the clerk of council Art Thompson related his conversation with Missy Setters, the executive director of the Independence Bowl. Ms. Setters advised that, as of that date, the Independence Bowl did not have corporate title sponsor.
How the bowl can make its required payment without a corporate title sponsor is a question left to be answered. Those who are not wearing rose tinted glasses believe the I Bowl is now history. The bowl world has changed substantially since the bowl was started, and like rotary phones, it is a victim of progress. And if a primary goal of the board was to put Shreveport “on the map”, then it has achieved that goal.