The Idaho Potato Commission is considering a proposal to change the contract for its title sponsorship of a college football bowl game held each year at Boise State University.
ESPN owns the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The commission, title sponsor since 2011, for the past few years has paid about $450,000 and is scheduled to pay $477,000 starting in 2021.
The commission on June 20 considered ESPN’s proposal to extend the contract two years, through 2023, and remove the shorter of its two “out” clauses. The fee schedule would not change.
Commissioners are expected to take up the issue at their July 24 meeting in Eagle.
Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir said the proposed new contract would eliminate the 12-month “out clause” the commission now can exercise for about $130,000. The revised version would keep the existing 18-month “out clause”, which lacks an exit fee because the commission would remain the paying title sponsor for the next game.
In return, the bowl would get its own midfield logo, which Boise State for the first time would allow in place of the university’s logo. BSU already allows bowl logos elsewhere on the field and in the stadium.
ESPN would pick up the $35,000 annual cost of the bowl’s midfield logo, including postgame replacement of the university’s logo.
“We would still have an ‘out clause’ allowing us to end the contract if we want, but we get the benefit of having the logo at midfield — which increases the visibility of Idaho potatoes,” Muir said. “Nearly every image shown during the bowl game has potatoes screaming off the TV screen.”
He said an independent group found the Dec. 21 game generated about $16 million in promotional value not including the commission’s in-game advertising or incidental exposure, such as when the state’s potato branding is viewed during the game or in recorded highlights.
The next game is scheduled for Jan. 3, between the semi-final and final weekly games of the national college football playoff.