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Sports Commission Wants to Bring Bowl Game to STL

Allison Blood, KMOX
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – The St. Louis Sports Commission is in the early stages of trying to bring a major college football bowl game to the city.

Commission President Frank Viverito says it’s going to take a lot of time and negotiations between sponsors and the NCAA, but Missouri’s law makers could make the process smoother by passing a tax break for sporting events. The credit would give back some of the tax revenue generated by sporting events in the state to the commission to help fuel new projects. That effort has failed in Jefferson City for years because the state can’t agree on tax credit reform.

The tax break has failed for several sessions in a row now. Viverito says he’s still optimistic that lawmakers will pass it this year or next.

He says with or without that tax break, the commission is in the exploratory phase of getting a major bowl game to St. Louis. After the yearly University of Missouri and University of Illinois football game stopped, St. Louis’ schedule is open to bring some big schools to town. He says the commission will need a TV deal, title sponsor, a commitment from two conferences and an NCAA bowl certification before this can become a reality.

“The key is the conference tie in,” he said. “But if we could have a tie-in with a league like the Big 10 and a league like the SEC, you kind of can’t go wrong.”

He named schools like Alabama, Michigan and Vanderbilt as possible schools to invite to the city. He says nearly any team in the SEC or Big 10 would be preferable, but he says the Commission is not interested in hosting just any game.

“We want to host a game that matters,” he said.

He says once there’s a conference tie-in and a title sponsor, the rest will come together. While the tax break won’t make this happen overnight, Viverito says not having the support of law makers will put the region at a competitive disadvantage against other cities looking to host a large-scale sports event.

KMOX © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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