SBD/December 15, 2010/Marketing and Sponsorship

Gone Bowling: Progressive, Belk Sign On As Bowl Title Sponsors

The Gator Bowl Association yesterday announced a “one-year title sponsorship deal with Progressive” for the Jan. 1 Michigan-Mississippi State Gator Bowl at EverBank Field,  according to Garry Smits of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. The deal includes an option for three more years that would “carry the relationship for the full term of the current TV and conference affiliation deal.” The Gator Bowl has been “operating without a title sponsor since the spring, when Konica Minolta declined to renew a deal that had been in place from 2007-2009.” A title sponsorship deal “is important because the added revenue could enable the Gator Bowl to offer more of a payout to the participating teams, which could move the game up in the pecking order in the SEC and the Big Ten.” The Gator Bowl is in the “first year of a four-year deal with those conferences, and with ESPN.” Gator Bowl Association President Rick Catlett: “This is the final piece of the puzzle we were looking to make” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 12/15).

SHOPPING LIST: In Charlotte, Ron Green Jr. reports Belk department stores has signed on to take over “title sponsorship of what is now the Meineke Car Care Bowl” beginning with the '11 game. The Charlotte-based company “had been considering a sports-related title sponsorship for about a year and taking over the nine-year old bowl provided a good fit.” The deal to title the Belk Bowl runs through ’13. Details of the contract were not disclosed, but the game “will be featured in a variety of ways” by Belk (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/15). Driven Brands, parent company of Meineke Car Care Centers, “paid an estimated $1 million annually in its deal.” In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg noted part of the "motivation for switching sponsors came from recent increases in the game’s payout to the two schools.” North Carolina and Pittsburgh -- the participating schools in the ’09 game -- “shared $2 million; this year, it’s $3.4 million.” Bowl officials said that adding Belk “provides a larger sponsor investment,” and that they “hope the alliance with Belk runs longer” than three years (BIZJOURNALS.com, 12/14).

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