Latest gig for ‘Z' — cover model

March 1, 2007 

Boise State is in the game — and on its cover, too.

Former Bronco quarterback Jared Zabransky will grace the cover of the immensely popular EA Sports NCAA Football 2008 video game, according to a Boise State athletic department official.

"It's extremely big for us as an athletic department. It crosses generations by touching kids and adults ... It's an incredible marketing opportunity,'' said Brad Larrondo, who is the Broncos' senior assistant athletic director for promotions and marketing.

EA Sports will make an official announcement Friday in Orlando, Fla., during an ESPN The Weekend event at Walt Disney World.

Zabransky declined comment Wednesday evening, preferring to wait until Friday to speak publicly.

BSU has already seen and approved the artwork for the Zabransky cover, Larrondo said.

"The Fiesta Bowl victory was a key to it all, and he was the quarterback behind the fairy-tale story,'' Larrondo said.

EA Sports NCAA Football 2008 will be released later this year, likely in July. More than 2.2 million copies of the video game were sold last season on various game consoles, making it the fourth-highest selling video game last year, according to Next Generation, an interactive entertainment Web site.

Former USC running back and Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush was on last year's cover. Other notable players on past covers include Heisman Trophy winners Carson Palmer, Ricky Williams, Charles Woodson and Danny Wuerffel.

Zabransky will be the first non-BCS conference player tobe on the cover of the popular series with the catchy advertising slogan — "If it's in the game, it's in the game."

Larrondo said BSU gets more royalty money from EA Sports than any other licensee. Last year, the school received $78,551 from EA Sports, he said. Boise State receives the money because the football team, like all Division I-A and I-AA teams, is part of the game.

Nike was the No. 2 provider of royalty money to BSU last year, giving the Broncos $47,500.

The EA Sports news comes one day after Boise State announced a film deal to tell the story of the 2006 undefeated season and the 2007 Fiesta Bowl victory. Three Boise-based filmmakers hope to use a documentary to develop story ideas for a movie, which could generate a rights fee for BSU between $250,000 and $750,000.

Work begins Monday on the documentary, and it could be released this fall.

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