Hail Corporate: Your 2014 Bowl Game Corporate Sponsorship Guide

God, these fake arena sponsorships are getting dumber and dumber every…hmm? What’s that? Oh…apologies, apparently this is real.

If there’s anything in the world more pointless than this blog, it’s the seemingly limitless supply of bowl games that run from mid-December through mid-January — it’s almost a full month of meaningless one-off games between mostly mediocre teams. Awesome, right?! (Granted, I’m writing this while I’m watching the New Orleans Bowl, so who am I to judge?)

It’s an old cliche now, but every bowl game has a sponsorship deal too, with the corporate tie-ins ranging from the mostly benign to the outright absurd. Even hallowed bowls like the Cotton and Rose have deals with Goodyear and Northwest Mutual respectively. Things are getting a little out of hand.

Since nothing is sacred anymore, I might as well run right at the concept and kill some time until I can start drinking. I present to you the 2014 glitchgoals Corporate Sponsorship Guide Presented by Basil Hayden’s! (Did I say until I can start drinking? Whoops.)

For the sake of convenience — and because there are a lot of similarities in the sponsors — I’ve broken them into a few distinct groups. Let’s start with the category that has the most:

Food

List of bowls, in chronological order:

  • Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
  • Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl
  • Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
  • Foster Farms Bowl
  • Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
  • Outback Bowl
  • Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl

Let there be no mistake: America loves food. It craves food. It loves food ads being shoved down its throats in the figurative sense and would no doubt welcome it in the literal one, if it could be arranged. Football and food go hand-in-hand, I guess…it’s just so clearly top-of-mind for bowl season. Even setting aside corporate sponsorship, we’ve got the Peach, Citrus and Sugar Bowls with food-themed words in their names. Shit, the word “bowl” is right there in ALL of the names. Jesus Christ, fatties. Keep it in your Size 48 pants.

My favorite favorite favorite thing about this group, though: you could argue that up to FIVE of these bowls are fried chicken-themed. Certainly Popeye’s, Zaxby’s and Chick-fil-A; Foster Farms and Buffalo Wild Wings are pretty heavily chicken-inclined too, albeit not exclusively. I propose that next year we just do away with the charade and get them all to sponsor the inaugural Chicken Bowl. They can host it in Mississippi. (Why there? It’s the site of the Egg Bowl.) In the meantime, America:

 

Financial

List of bowls, in chronological order:

  • San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
  • Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl
  • Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
  • Capital One Orange Bowl
  • Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwest Mutual
  • Allstate Sugar Bowl
  • TaxSlayer Bowl

America may not love financial institutions the same way it loves food, but it very clearly needs them — how else do you explain that seven bowls have banking, mortgage or insurance-themed sponsors? On the one hand, I guess I get it: people don’t know shit about their own money, and paying someone else to worry about you is a lot easier than taking the initiative to do it yourself. On the other hand, I’m surprised another seven fried chicken restaurants didn’t pony up more money than these guys. Such is life.

My two favorites on this list by a wide margin are the first two. The Poinsettia Bowl is sponsored by a credit union — which all of you should absolutely have your money in, in lieu of national banks — and the St. Petersburg Bowl is sponsored by Bitcoin, the digital cryptocurrency. A little late to the party, seeing as how Dogecoin already got its own NASCAR, but consider: even the most popular NASCAR race is about 5% as popular as the St. Petersburg Bowl will be. You could air footage of a Brent Musburger colonoscopy at halftime and still get more viewers than a NASCAR race. They could murder a Kim Jong-un impersonator at the Daytona 500 and North Korea wouldn’t be mad because they’d never hear about it.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah: nothing.

wow
wow

 

Automotive

List of bowls, in chronological order:

  • Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
  • Quick Lane Bowl
  • Hyundai Sun Bowl
  • AutoZone Liberty Bowl
  • Goodyear Cotton Bowl
  • Valero Alamo Bowl

Still pretty standard stuff from a sponsorship standpoint. Food, money and cars make up like 57% of the male, football-loving brain. I have a chart that proves it:

I tried to make a 3-D chart shaped like a boob but it didn't work. Oh well. Boobs.
I tried to make a 3-D chart shaped like a boob but it didn’t work. Oh well. Boobs.

What’s interesting is that only one car maker has a bowl game: Hyundai, who decided they wanted to hitch their branding wagon to the bowl that produced this 3-0 atrocity a few years ago. Hyundai: where the only thing worse than our cars is our marketing department.

 

Apparel

List of bowls, in chronological order:

  • Gildan New Mexico Bowl
  • New Era Pinstripe Bowl
  • Russell Athletic Bowl
  • Belk Bowl

I’m struck by the mixed messages here: three of these are athletic-ish clothing companies, while Belk is an upscale department store in Charlotte, NC; the Pinstripe Bowl refers to the game being held at Yankee Stadium, who have arguably the most iconic uniforms of any team in any sport, and it’s sponsored by…New Era, makers of lame, overpriced hats. More than anything, though, I love that Gildan and Russell Athletic sponsor bowls where the participating teams will all be wearing Nike gear. Way to stay relevant, guys!

 

Desperately Seeking Travelers

List of bowls, in chronological order:

  • Miami Beach Bowl
  • Boca Raton Bowl
  • Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
  • Birmingham Bowl

Four bowls, three named for the places that are hosting them. To be honest, I was tempted to put the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl here too, since it’s essentially a desperate effort to stay relevant because who the fuck wants to go to Idaho on purpose?

What I love most is why bother sponsoring/hosting a bowl game if you’re any of these places? Is anyone who watches the Birmingham Bowl going to suddenly realize they need to visit the shitty backwoods of America? Do people really need to be sold on the sunny, beautiful beaches of Hawaii or Miami Beach? Do any of the elderly Jewish populace in Boca Raton even have cable? I’m calling on McDonald’s, Burger King, Jack in the Box and Wendy’s to take over sponsorship rights and add to the food list. I’m sure those four could pool the $37.25 it’d take to buy the naming rights.

 

Scams

List of bowls, in chronological order:

  • National University Holiday Bowl
  • AdvoCare Texas Bowl

Is the term “scams” unfair? Possibly. But National University is a predominantly-online university with assorted physical locations scattered around California — sorry if I seem skeptical. And AdvoCare is described as “an American multilevel marketing company which sells nutrition, weight-loss, energy and sports performance product.” When “multilevel marketing” shows up in Google’s summary of you, no amount of bowl sponsorship is gonna solve your pr problem, douchebags. No one is buying that term anymore.

Just to be fair though, AdvoCare, I renamed your bowl game and even made you a new logo. Hope you like it!

PyramidBowl

 

Military-Industrial Complex

List of bowls, in chronological order:

  • Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman
  • Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Boy, where do we even begin with this? If you were trying to create two fake bowl games sponsored by the douchiest, most controversial companies in America, these are the two examples you’d pick and people would make fun of you because they sound too fake and too ridiculous to be real. Was Halliburton too busy to throw their name behind one of these? Did Monsanto decide that they’d get around to creating the Gateway Bowl in St. Louis next year? This is un-fucking-believable to me.

Oh, and since they’re military-sponsored bowls, you might think that at least one of the service academies will show up, right? Uh, no: Air Force is in the Potato Bowl, and Navy was invited to the Poinsettia Bowl. But have fun representing our troops, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, Houston and Pitt!!

 

The Rest

List of bowls, in chronological order:

  • R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
  • Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
  • Duck Commander Independence Bowl
  • Vizio Fiesta Bowl
  • TicketCity Cactus Bowl
  • GoDaddy Bowl
  • College Football Championship Game

The remaining seven bowls don’t have much in common with one another from football or sponsorship standpoints, and none of them deserved their own category, so I lumped them all together into a nice little “other” category. There’s a nice bit of diversity here: a shipping company, a TV media company (?), a TV manufacturer, a ticket distributor, a web hosting company and a…uh, duck call company?

I may not understand you, Duck Commander, but I love you.

I also included the natty on this list because it is sponsored by goddamn everyone and their mother, so it didn’t seem fair to pick just one. Overall, though, the main question remains: Why sponsor a bowl game? I mean, I’m sure it’s cheaper than a Super Bowl ad, but is Raycom Media really going to draw incremental revenue from this? Does TicketCity pose any sort of viable threat to Ticketmaster or StubHub or motherfucking Craigslist?? In case the hyperbolic question marks in the last sentence didn’t make it clear, my answer is: no, not even a little bit??? (And in case those hyperbolic question marks didn’t make it clear, get the fuck out of here.)

So there you have it, football fans: a look at what corporate America Vizio thinks you care about and/or are enough of a sucker to buy Goodyear. In case the disturbing machinations Sheraton of the capitalist empire haven’t been stripped bare enough for you yet Outback Steakhouse, make no mistake Royal Purple that money always talks Gildan and it’ll always Allstate be the case Valero that someone will want to sell you something in any Buffalo Wild Wings way Quick Lane possible GoDaddy.

Happy bowl season everyone!

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Hail Corporate: Your 2014 Bowl Game Corporate Sponsorship Guide

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