Independence Bowl looking for new sponsor

Updated: August 12, 2003, 4:18 PM ET

SHREVEPORT, La. -- The Independence Bowl is losing MainStay as its primary sponsor.

Bowl officials said Tuesday that the 2003 game, scheduled for Dec. 31, will be sponsored for the last time by MainStay Funds, which declined a fourth-year option on a sponsorship contract.

MainStay, a division of New York Life Investment Management, became the third sponsor of the Independence Bowl in 2001.

Dropping its sponsorship after this year was "purely a business decision," the company said in a news release that otherwise praised the bowl game's organizers.

Poulan/Weed Eater was the original sponsor. Sanford then sponsored the game from 1998-2000.

Independence Bowl Executive Director Glen Krupica sought to portray MainStay's decision as more of an opportunity than a setback.

"We are confident that we will find the right match in securing the next title sponsor of the Independence Bowl," Krupica said. "Every time we have had a transition like this in the past we have been successful in growing the Bowl."

Bowl officials said they already have several new sponsorship prospects.

The game, traditionally played between Christmas and New Year's Eve, matches Big 12 and Southeastern Conference teams that performed well-enough to become bowl-eligible, which generally means winning at least six games and having a record better than .500.

The game is nationally televised and is played in Independence Stadium, which in recent years has undergone nearly $40 million in renovations.

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On the Net:

http://www.independencebowl.org

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index