Seattle Bowl Ripe for Buyout

As the fledgling Seattle Bowl unveiled itself for the second time, serious questions arose about the business practices of Terry Daw and his company. As Bob Sherwin of the Seattle Times detailed in his article, there have been various vendors who have had to wait many months to get paid for last year's contest.

This was if they were lucky enough to get paid at all. Local luminaries like Don James and Chuck Nelson, who lent their names and efforts last year, declined to help this year. All in all, the bowl game seems to be on shaky footing.

However, even amid the glut of bowl games (a voluminous list which detracts from the special meaning that used to be inherent in being a bowl team) there is opportunity.

The Pac-10 has done a horrific job in setting up agreements with bowl games, and has done nothing to help foster a big-time event out on the west coast. The Rose and Holiday Bowls present big games each year. However, beyond these there is nothing of appeal that presents the Pac-10 with significant exposure, payout or opportunity. The mundane roll call of western bowls is tiresome - with the Sun, Vegas, Insight, Silicon, Seattle and Humanitarian Bowls.

On a national scale it seems like the majority of meaningful and prosperous bowl games take place on the east coast. The Orange, Cotton, Sugar, Capital One, and Gator Bowls, (among others), seem to rein supreme in the mainstream consciousness of college football fans.

The Pac-10 could do itself a big favor by approaching a company like Microsoft. Together they could buy out and promote a game like the Seattle Bowl. By getting a big-name sponsor with a big-time payout (say $3-4 million per team), along with the grandeur and amenities provided by magnificent Seahawks Stadium, a more prominent destination could be created for the Pac-10's #2 team. The whole league would certainly benefit.

If on December 30th of every year, the #2 Pac-10 team was playing a quality at-large opponent, it will be a no-brainer that Seattle fans would turn out to enjoy the festive atmosphere of football. Instead of a game featuring the definition of mediocrity (Wake Forest) vs. a team mired in a late-season death spiral (Oregon), envision the possibility of intriguing match ups for Northwest fans to witness.

Imagine a Bobby Bowden taking his Seminoles through the Pike Place Market, as his theoretically 9-3 team is about to play USC… Imagine a Tyrone Willingham overseeing his Fighting Irish as they eat dinner at the Space Needle, in the days before taking on UCLA. Imagine a Nick Saban bringing his enraptured Louisiana State Tigers to Snoqualmie Falls, before their scheduled confrontation with the Washington Huskies.

These match ups would sell a lot of tickets, and bring in tourist money for our local restaurants, hotels and car rental agencies. Seattle herself could be promoted to fans as a great wintertime destination, with nearby Snoqualmie Pass beckoning skiers and breathtaking views from Queen Anne Hill to be had by car. It could prove to be a furtive boon to Husky recruiting. Perhaps even second-hand accounts of the astonishing scenery and friendly people gets back to some 15-year old on the east coast, who has the same adventurous streak as did John Anderson, Rich Alexis and Charles Frederick… It would also give Bill Gates a chance to work and merge interests again with his good friend Paul Allen, and provide Microsoft with some damn good advertising.

Most of all, the Pac-10 would benefit greatly by having a marquee event on the west coast every year. By being a co-creator of this bowl game, they would be able to ensure that one of their own was always a participant.

At present, the Seattle Bowl is teetering and tottering and seems on the verge of collapse. However, there is opportunity. If Pac-10 Commish Tom Hansen and Bill Gates would like to do lunch sometime this spring, they could create something mutually beneficial for everyone involved. They could follow the lead of the successful Capital One Bowl.

Now, the odds of Hansen and Gates having lunch together are probably about the same as Rick Neuheisel taking over as coach of Pacific Lutheran. But it seems odd, that a conference that prides itself as being the "Conference of Champions" has a contract for its #3 team to go to the Sun Bowl.

It behooves the Pac-10 to secure and improve our social standing in relation to the other major conferences.
Derek Johnson can be reached at Top Stories