BCS taps Ari Fleischer after RFP

NEW YORK: The Bowl Championship Series (BCS), which oversees postseason action for college football, hired Ari Fleischer Sports Communications after an RFP process, effective November 21.

NEW YORK: The Bowl Championship Series (BCS), which oversees postseason action for college football, hired Ari Fleischer Sports Communications after an RFP process, effective November 21.

"We needed to be more proactive in terms of talking about the benefits of the BCS," said Bill Hancock, who was recently promoted to be the first executive director of the BCS. "We're proud of what the BCS has done, and yet, lots of people are not aware of the good things that are happening."

The multiple-round RFP was issued in late summer, and while Hancock was unable to release the financial details of the contract or the other agencies involved, he said Ari Fleischer Sports Communications, led by the former press secretary for President George W. Bush, pulled ahead because of its past experience.

"Ari brought a lot to the table in terms of his good experience with sports," Hancock said, "and he obviously has many experiences in his previously life that can bring a lot to this."

The agency will oversee traditional media relations, and help the BCS with its messaging and telling the story of the organization, Hancock said. Additionally, Ari Fleischer Sports Communications will help with social media, including the recently-introduced Twitter and Facebook pages. The new social media elements have drawn some controversy as college football fans, often angry about the format of the BCS, are lashing out on Twitter and Facebook.

"From my point of view, what we've done is engaged our critics and really started a debate," Hancock said. "We're basically using the passion of the opponents to demonstrate that they are spilt about how to create a playoff. We've certainly heard loud and clear from fans who want four teams in a playoff and who want 16 teams in a playoff. And we've heard from some who want home games in the playoffs and some who want neutral games. The BCS format has, on the contrary, a consensus among the presidents and commissioners and athletic directors."

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