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ESPN Events cuts ties with New Mexico Bowl sponsor

New Mexico Bowl executive director Jeff Siembieda, left, appears with DreamHouse CEO Eric Martinez at an Oct. 1 press event to announce the company’s title sponsorship for the bowl game. (Roberto Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Was it all a dream?

ESPN Events pulled the plug Thursday on its 3-week-old partnership with the Albuquerque-based DreamHouse company as the title sponsor of the New Mexico Bowl.

“We notified DreamHouse today that we have terminated its title sponsorship agreement with the New Mexico Bowl,” ESPN spokeswoman Anna Negron said in an email to the Journal. “We remain focused on ensuring a quality experience for fans.”

She did not expand on the reason for the decision.

Earlier in the day, the DreamHouse New Mexico Bowl logo and all references to it were scrubbed from the bowl’s website and the old, sponsorless bowl logo was put in its place. Also, the URL for DreamHouseNewMexicoBowl.com now redirects users to the NewMexicoBowl.com website.

Screen shot from Thursday of the New Mexico Bowl’s website, which now has scrubbed the logo and all references to its partnership with DreamHouse Productions.

The game is still scheduled to be played on Dec. 21.

ESPN Events’ announcement came the same day a front-page Journal story revealed that the fledgling DreamHouse has no business license with the city of Albuquerque and that its CEO, Eric G. Martinez, has faced multiple judgments for unpaid debts, including $16,717 for a credit card debt he still owes. Also, the company’s address is listed as a residence, even though ESPN, when announcing the sponsorship, said the company had a 25,000-square-foot post-production studio in Albuquerque. ESPN had described DreamHouse as a multi-entity firm focused on serving the state’s film industry with production and post-production services.

Stories on the Enchantment Sports website first raised questions about Martinez’s background.

A four-year partnership was announced by New Mexico Bowl Director Jeff Siembieda on Oct. 1 for the ESPN-owned bowl game that has taken place in Albuquerque, and played at the University of New Mexico’s Dreamstyle Stadium, since 2006. (Dreamstyle is not affiliated in any way with DreamHouse.)

Financial terms between DreamHouse and the bowl never were disclosed.

The partnership between the bowl game and DreamHouse was touted as one that would bring national exposure to the city, the state’s booming film industry, the game itself and the company.

“This is a great way to kick-start the DreamHouse brand locally and nationally,” Martinez said at the time. “We want to be a long-term partner for this game, and we want New Mexico to be the No. 1 hub for the film industry.”

Siembieda said at the time, “I think you know what the film industry is doing for our state. It’s a hub for our economy, and DreamHouse is a big part of that. This partnership is right.”

The problem is, it appears, that DreamHouse is not yet up and running at all. Although there is a DreamHouse Post Production LLC registered with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office and Martinez is listed as its CEO and registered agent, there is not a business license registered with the city of Albuquerque.

ESPN Events had said DreamHouse had a post-production studio at the Aperture Center at Mesa del Sol. More specifically, Martinez said in a recent television interview that it was located next to the Netflix production hub at Mesa del Sol. Asked about DreamHouse at the Netflix gate this week, a security guard there said he didn’t know of the firm, adding, “That’s a new one to me.”

Attempts to reach DreamHouse or Martinez for comment on Thursday were unsuccessful.

ESPN Events is a division of ESPN, and the New Mexico Bowl is one of 16 bowl games it owns and operates.

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