College Bowl Season: What’s In a Name?

It’s that time of year that all college football fans love: Bowl Season! With all 42 bowl games now scheduled and announced, the marketing campaigns for each are ready to launch. There’s sure to be hype-filled commercials leading up to the bigger match-ups, as well as great ads during game coverage. But what about the naming rights to a bowl game? You’d be surprised at how much corporations are willing to pay to get their name attached to a big league college bowl game, and the benefits of such a sponsorship.

What’s in a name?

Have you ever wondered why bowl games have the strangest prefixes attached to them? There’s the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bow, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, and even the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Those don’t exactly roll off the tongue. Sponsoring a college football game is a quiet but impactful advertising tactic that big corporations jump on, if they can afford to.

So how much are advertisers and sponsors really spending on these naming rights? According to The Atlantic, companies spend an estimated $100 million on naming rights to these bowls. Along with the sponsor’s name being in the title of the bowl game, their brand is also displayed in a number of other areas. Their name appears on signs around the stadium, the logo in the middle of the football field, and on the merchandise sold at and after the game, just to name a few places.

This kind of brand saturation means viewers can’t go more than a few minutes without seeing the brand identity.

So, it’s no surprise that you’ll soon be seeing advertisements for the Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl, the Foster Farms Bowl, and even the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl on a device near you.

Why invest in naming rights?

As we’ve all come to realize, naming rights to stadiums and sporting events like college bowl games offer more than just name recognition. It really comes down to product placement. Fans and viewers hear the brand, see the brand, and associate the brand with the prowess of the game or event. Because it’s nearly impossible for viewers to tune them out, advertisers know just how valuable naming rights can be.

While bowl season is usually just looked at as a great few weeks of football, there’s actually a great deal of marketing strategy going on behind the scenes. What do you think of the the naming rights of bowl games? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Feature image by Troy Figgins.

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