Revisited: A review of the bowl games

One of the great things about the global economic catastrophe has been the effect on certain corporate marketing decisions. High-powered multinationals have been forced to look at their priorities and re-evaluate how important it is to shareholders to have the company name plastered all over everything from sporting venues to golf tournaments to baby’s foreheads.

Two new baseball parks being built in New York City for the Yankees and Mets are struggling to find firms willing to spend multi-millions for naming rights, and may have to begin hosting games next season as Hank’s Place and Choker’s Field, respectively. NASCAR auto racing has seen a significant decline in its sponsorships, to the point where you can almost see a bare patch of material on drivers’ uniforms. Traditional suppliers like GM and Chevy are scaling back their involvement in motorsports and we may soon see a Daytona 500 featuring Mini Coopers and old VW minivans.

I’ll miss the occasional unintended consequences that resulted when corporate takeovers clashed with the best-laid marketing plans. For example, when First Union Bank acquired CoreStates, it also inherited the basketball arena that was home to the NBA’s 76ers. The “CoreStates Center” sign was coming down and the “First Union Center” sign was going up when it occurred to someone how headline writers were going to abbreviate the new name.

Before the college football bowl season finally began winding down, many of us (OK, a few of us) sat in front of our TVs wondering about this new crop of low-rent game sponsors. Slashed rates allowed local credit unions and regional trucking firms to have their images splashed across a national stage, prompting viewers to wonder how exactly they could patronize the San Diego Credit Union or R+L Carriers even if they wanted to.

To help these would-be customers, I’ve compiled a complete list of the games and their sponsors with a little something about each firm. I would’ve included the teams who played and the final score too, but nobody cares.

magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl – The magicJack is some kind of device you stick in your computer to make phone calls. Sounds like a good idea until you realize how awkward it is to hold the monitor up to your ear while you try to talk into the mouse.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – R+L is an Ohio-based trucking firm founded in 1965. Ralph L. “Larry” Roberts was a mere teenager with aspirations of owning his own business. His dream became a reality with the purchase of a single truck he used to haul furniture. The firm then grew into … That’s really all you need to know.

SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl – Everyone living in San Diego, Orange and Riverside counties is eligible to join this federally insured credit union. If you watched the game from your home in Louisville, their competitive CD rates make a move to California worthwhile. I hear R+L is available to help with your couch.

Motor City Bowl – Not too surprisingly, this Detroit game failed to attract a big-name sponsor. Reports are that next year’s game will be called the Bailout Bowl.

Meineke Car Care Bowl – Meineke is a car maintenance franchise clever enough to have worked not only their name but also what they do into their bowl name. This might be something for the SDCCU to consider when they begin negotiations for next year’s Poinsettia Bowl, which could instead become the SDCCU Foreclosure Poinsettia Bowl.

Champs Sports Bowl – Champs is a seller of sports equipment even though I thought they were a sports bar. I must be thinking of some other company I’ll never patronize.

Papajohns.com Bowl – Most people are aware of Papa John’s Pizza, but they also want you to know about their website, which uses a PDF (pizza delivery format) to bring you hot pies through your high-speed Internet connection.

Valero Energy Alamo Bowl – Valero is a retailer of gasoline that managed to work a slight rule change into the Alamo Bowl. Team scores not only can rapidly rise, but they can plummet just as quickly.

Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl – Roady’s Truck Stops are the nation’s largest chain of truck stops, catering to the professional driver and traveling motorist in 45 states, meeting the humanitarian needs of people low on fuel for many years.

Brut Sun Bowl – As the final seconds ticked off the clock in this classic, the winning coach was drenched by a cooler full of Brut cologne. He’s currently recovering in the Augusta burn center.

Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl – The rush to purchase helicopters from viewers who enjoyed this match-up drove Bell’s stock price to a three-year high.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl (formerly the Peach Bowl) – They dropped the “peach” out of a concern that fuzz is not something chicken consumers want to be reminded of.

Outback Bowl – This is much like the regular college game except the football is replaced with a Bloomin’ Onion.

Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl – This bowl game had more adjectives (4) than one of the participating teams had points (3).

Konica Minolta Gator Bowl – Makers of fine cameras until the next leap in digital technology sends them into bankruptcy.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl – Perhaps the winners of this game and the Meineke Car Care Bowl could meet in a playoff: the Sell ‘Em a Muffler When They Just Need a Spark Plug Bowl.

GMAC Bowl – A long, long time ago, people bought cars from a company named “General Motors” and frequently did something called “financing” with GMAC to pay for the car on credit. This bowl is a salute to those bygone days, and includes players using helmets made of leather that have no faceguards.

AT&T Cotton Bowl – AT&T is one of the few big names still in the bowl sponsorship business. Send me a 10-cent text message and I’ll tell you more.

FedX Orange Bowl – Another of the big names still in the bowl scene. Surviving despite the tremendous loss of business due to email attachments and zip files, FedX now has a business model that relies primarily on Amazon and eBay shipments, along with its recent diversification into mowing lawns.

Allstate Sugar Bowl – A curious combination considering New Orleans was wiped out by a hurricane and is still having trouble recovering because of tight-fisted insurance companies. You might be “in good hands” with Allstate, but watch out for their prehensile tail that may be picking your pocket.

Capital One Bowl – What’s in your wallet? Not much cash after you’ve finished paying the astronomical interest rates on their credit cards.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl – The most delicious, crunchiest game on the postseason calendar.

Insight Bowl – I challenge you to follow this one: Starting in 2000, this game moved to Bank One Ballpark, now known as Chase Field. The game moved yet again effective with the 2006 game, but remained in the Phoenix metropolitan area, this time in Sun Devil Stadium, which was left without a postseason game when the Fiesta Bowl moved to the University of Phoenix Stadium.  The game was formerly known as the Copper Bowl until 1996 when sponsorship was assumed by Insight Enterprises and it became the Insight.com Bowl from 1997 to 2001, and then the Insight Bowl. Insight, incidentally, is either a type of Honda, a broadband service, or a laptop maker.

Rose Bowl, sponsored by citi – Yes, the same “citi” as the Citibank that narrowly avoided financial collapse late last year. So their stockholders wouldn’t be pissed that they threw money at the little-known Rose Bowl, note how they put their sponsorship after the bowl name and lower-cased the first letter, hoping no one would notice.

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4 Responses to “Revisited: A review of the bowl games”

  1. tom1950 Says:

    How about the Tidy Bowl Bowl?

    Rarely talked about, this bowl seeks out the two worst teams in the country and pits them against each other on a field of dead grass marked with white, segmented, stripes. When the game is over, a large geyser of water shoots from one end zone and swirls around the stadium until everything is drained down a large hole which opens at the 50-yard line.

    T.O.M.

  2. delicate flower Says:

    Damn.. I was working on an idea for Monday’s post on the whole ridiculous bowl naming thing…..

  3. morethananelectrician Says:

    Maybe a Mob family can pick up the naming rights to one of the new Stadiums…I am sure they didn’t get enough $$$ when they were being built…”Gambino Stadium” has a nice ring to it…some of their foes are probably buried in the concrete on the site already.

  4. fakename2 Says:

    I think “Allstate Sugar Bowl” is quite appropriate. In Florida, they don’t sell homeowner’s insurance and I doubt they do so in Louisiana either. They are probably making a killing in auto insurance now, since so many people in New Orleans are living in theirs.

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