How 'Bowling' Can Make Your Company A BMOC

What does it take to be a BMOC -- which here means Big Marketer On Campus -- in the current college football bowl landscape? If you are Vizio, Go Daddy, BBVA or Discover, about $3-$5 million a year, depending on the marketing, activation and related logistical package that comes with a naming rights deal. These four were among a group of companies that moved in this season to become bowl game sponsors when others such as Citi, FedEx and Papa John's moved out.

There was an unusually high turnover rate in college football bowl-naming rights this season, due in large part to Fox completing its four-year deal to broadcast the five-game Bowl Championship Series and ESPN acquiring the rights to sell all sponsorship and advertising for the BCS games as part of a four-year, $495 million deal with the NCAA.

Among the games to experience a change in naming rights were the iconic Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl games, both part of the BCS. Vizio replaced Citi, which had been the presenting sponsor of the Rose Bowl since 2004, including the BCS National Championship Game this past January. The four-year Vizio deal, valued at $20 million by industry analysts, includes the BCS National Championship Game in 2014. "Sports fans, particularly football fans, are a critically important audience for our brand as it continues to grow and expand," offered Randy Waynick, Vizio chief sales officer. "Serving as presenting sponsor of the 'Granddaddy of all Bowl Games' provides a rare opportunity to reach a captive audience on New Year's Day. It also provides tremendous marketing potential leading up to the game during the critical holiday buying season."

Discover Financial Services signed on as title sponsor of the Orange Bowl through 2014, including the 2013 BCS title game, replacing FedEx, which opted out of its alliance after 21 years. Harit Talwar, president of U.S. Cards for Discover, echoed Waynick's statement when he explained, "Our cardmembers are very passionate about college football. As title sponsor of the Orange Bowl, Discover will be rewarding our cardmembers all year long with exclusive benefits." Discover already has activated behind this deal with TV spots starring former college head football coaching icons Lou Holtz and Bobby Bowden.

This season's BCS also includes the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game (Jan. 10) at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

BBVA Compass, a leading financial institution in the Sunbelt Region, signed a multi-year deal to become title sponsor and marketing partner of the Birmingham Bowl, which formerly had been known as the Bowl. The deal was the second major sports alliance for BBVA since September, when it became the official bank of the NBA. According to Manolo Sanchez, president and CEO of BBVA Compass, "For many people, their favorite sports team is a central part of who they are, and college football fans are among the most passionate fans in the world. We want to provide fans an opportunity to participate in what they love." Now in its fifth year, the now-titled BBVA Compass Bowl has generated more than $41.3 million in economic impact for the Birmingham, Ala., area, according to officials.

Given the breadth and width of college football, why would a company opt out of a high-profile bowl pact? In the case of Papa John's, it was a business decision to move its resources to pro football, where the company is in its rookie season as the official pizza sponsor of the NFL, a deal that also includes the next three Super Bowls. "We are very proud of the way the bowl has grown in audience, attendance and stature since its inception in 2006," said Chris Sternberg, svp-communications for Papa John's. "Unfortunately, the success of the bowl caused the sponsorship amount to grow to a level that caused us to decide to invest our sports marketing dollars elsewhere. In particular, we will focus on activating our sponsorship of the NFL."

In the cases of TicketCity and New Era, these companies signed on as title sponsors of newly created post-season college football bowl games. The inaugural TicketCity Bowl, Jan. 1 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, was created to replace the iconic AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, which moved after the 2009 event to the new Cowboys Stadium. The inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Dec. 30 at Yankee Stadium, will be the first college football bowl game in The Bronx (site of the old and now new Yankee Stadium since 1923) since 1962.

And just for good measure, now has title rights to the game formerly known as the GMAC Bowl. The irreverent domain registrar and Web hosting company is boasting, "College football will never be the same."

"We thought it was about time Go Daddy had its own Bowl game," said Bob Parsons, Go Daddy CEO and founder. "The Bowl has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Football is one of America's favorite pastimes, and if college football fans are anything, they are passionate and loyal. We like that!"

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