Camping World out as Independence Bowl sponsor

Updated: Jan. 20, 2017 at 6:26 PM CST
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Independence Bowl officials have confirmed that Camping World has pulled out as title sponsor.

"Camping World chose not to exercise the third and fourth year of our existing agreement and after a period of negotiations, we could not reach terms to continue," said Bowl chairman Eric Barkley in a news conference called late Friday afternoon.

Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis first confirmed the news to KSLA News 12 early Friday afternoon, saying he is disappointed that they could not come to an agreement on another year as the title sponsor for the college football bowl game in Shreveport.

Lemonis tells KSLA News 12 that he really wanted to make things work and that he and the committee have been going back and forth for the last several days.

According to Lemonis, the Independence Bowl made $500,000 last year, but as title sponsor, they spent $700,000. His offer for this year was $550,000 but he claims the Independence Bowl Committee wanted $800,000 and they couldn't come to an agreement.

Lemonis added that he loved being in Shreveport, but they will still be opening up a Camping World here and they will find a way to be involved in the community.

Camping World was announced as the I-Bowl's new title sponsor in July 2015, four months after Duck Commander pulled out, becoming the 7th title sponsor for the game.

During Friday's news conference, Barkley declined to get into the details of the negotiations, saying Lemonis' comments could stand on their own. But he did point out that the issue came down to the terms and was not because either side wanted out of the agreement.

"It's our understanding that they wanted to continue. We would have wanted them to continue if they could have agreed to terms and that would have been a great thing for our community," said Barkley.

Still, he acknowledged that there is value in not having to look for a new title sponsor.

"In the bowl business, you're always at some point looking for a title sponsor. You know, we've been through quite a few. We are very confident that we'll find another and that the bowl will go on,"

The search for a new title sponsor will begin next week.

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