SBJ/December 3-9, 2012/In Depth

Players share the wealth with bowl gifts

In SportsBusiness Journal’s seventh annual analysis of the gift packages provided to participants in postseason college football games, bowl operators report that with the emergence of gift suites and shopping trips as a popular way to provide these giveaways, players are migrating to a most unexpected place — the women’s section.

Will Webb, executive director of Charlotte Collegiate Football, the nonprofit committee that operates the Belk Bowl and the ACC Dr Pepper Championship football game in Charlotte, relates an experience during last year’s player shopping trip.

“I saw one young man carrying a high-end Cuisinart coffee maker and pink slippers to the checkout counter,” Webb said. “I asked him jokingly if those were for him. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘You have no idea how much this means to me. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever been able to buy my mom a Christmas present.’”

The trip was an integral part of a $70 million sponsorship deal with Charlotte-based retailer Belk, which includes title sponsorship to the annual ACC-Big East matchup. In a ritual that will continue this month, players from each of the competing schools will be taken separately to Belk’s flagship department store in Charlotte’s upscale South Park Mall for a storewide shopping spree. The bowl game will be played Dec. 27 at Bank of America Stadium a few miles away.

The NCAA allows each bowl to award up to $550 worth of gifts to 125 participants per school. Schools can, and almost always do, buy additional packages that they can distribute to participants beyond that 125 limit. In addition, participants can receive awards worth up to $400 from the school and up to $400 from the conference for postseason play, covering both conference title games and any bowl game.

Gift suites are set up as private events in which game participants, and often bowl VIPs, are given an order form and allowed to select a gift, or gifts, up to a value that is predetermined by each specific bowl, not to exceed the NCAA limit.

“The need for women’s VIP gifts has increased considerably over the past few years,” said Doug Smith, Fossil’s vice president of sales and operations for the corporate markets division. “One of our most popular brands that we have the license for — meaning we design, manufacture and distribute — is Michael Kors, and that helps position us well with
It’s become more common for players on sponsor-provided shopping trips to pick up something they can give to others. Here, players in last year’s Belk Bowl look over watches.
Photo by: Mark Sluder / Belk Stores
cheerleaders and coaches’ wives.”

Fossil products will appear in 19 bowl packages this year (including those for players, cheerleaders, staff and VIPs), the most of any vendor.

Players re-gifting their bowl gains is not new, but prior to the gift suites and shopping trips, their only options were whatever was in the gift bag presented to them.

Jon Cooperstein, who helped conceive the gift suite concept at the 2008 Orange Bowl, said his company, Performance Award Center, is offering a substantially more diverse selection of products this year. That’s because he and his staff have noticed that players are now just as likely to use the experience to shop for others as they are to sign up for things for themselves.

“When we were at the Alabama-Texas BCS championship game in 2010, one of the Alabama players came to me and said he wanted to select the watch with the bowl logo, but asked if we could fit it to someone else,” said Cooperstein, who was running the gift suite on behalf of the Rose Bowl committee. “I wasn’t quite sure what he meant, but he disappeared and came back a few minutes later with his grandfather in a wheelchair and said he wanted to give his bowl watch to him. It was a very emotional experience for everyone.”

One new product making its appearance this year will be Sol Republic headphones. Seen frequently this summer being worn by Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, players competing in the AutoZone Liberty and GoDaddy.com bowls will each receive a set.

As in each of our previous reports, the committees representing the AT&T Cotton and New Era Pinstripe bowls would not disclose the contents of their gift packages.



2012 Bowl gifts to participants

Gildan New Mexico
Sat., Dec. 15, 1 p.m. (ESPN), Albuquerque, N.M.
Gift suite, Deuce Brand watch, Oakley Holbrook sunglasses, Oakley fine knit beanie cap, Oakley Flak Pack XL backpack, Gildan stadium blanket, quill pen

Famous Idaho Potato
Sat., Dec. 15, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN), Boise, Idaho
Gift suite, North End black winter coat, Kombi winter gloves, white Tiger Woods Victory Nike beanie, Ogio Bullion backpack, Big Game football

San Diego Co. Credit Union Poinsettia
Thurs., Dec. 20, 8 p.m. (ESPN), San Diego
Best Buy gift card, Tourneau watch, Maui Jim sunglasses gift certificate, cap

Beef ‘O’Brady’s St. Petersburg
Fri., Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN), St. Petersburg, Fla.
Jawbone Jambox, Oakley Dispatch II sunglasses, Oakley backpack, Schutt mini helmet

R+L Carriers New Orleans
Sat., Dec. 22, Noon (ESPN), New Orleans
Beats by Dre headphones, Fossil watch, Oakley backpack

MAACO Las Vegas
Sat., Dec. 22, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN), Las Vegas
Gift suite

Sheraton Hawaii
Mon., Dec. 24, 8 p.m. (ESPN), Honolulu
Fossil watch, Oakley backpack, Tori Richard aloha shirts, custom beach towel, Pro Athletics shorts, T-shirt, performance T-shirt, hat/visor, calendar

Little Caesars Pizza
Wed., Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN), Detroit
Timely watch, leather travel sports bag, football

Military presented by Northrop Grumman
Thurs., Dec. 27, 3 p.m. (ESPN), Washington, D.C.
Applie iPad Mini, Timely watch, beanie

Belk
Thurs., Dec. 27, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN), Charlotte
Shopping trip to Belk department store, Fossil watch

Bridgepoint Education Holiday
Thurs., Dec. 27, 9:45 p.m. (ESPN), San Diego
Best Buy gift card, Tourneau watch, Maui Jim sunglasses gift certificate, cap

AdvoCare V100 Independence
Fri., Dec. 28, 2 p.m. (ESPN), Shreveport, La.
Gift suite, Timely watch, New Era cap, football

Russell Athletic Sports
Fri., Dec. 28, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN), Orlando
$420 shopping trip to a local Best Buy*, Timely watch

Meineke Car Care of Texas
Fri., Dec. 28, 9 p.m. (ESPN), Houston
Fossil watch, 32-inch flat-screen TV, belt buckle, T-shirt, lapel pin, backpack

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces
Sat., Dec. 29, 11:45 a.m. (ESPN), Fort Worth, Texas
Sony gift suite, Fossil watch, Dakine backpack, Big Game football

New Era Pinstripe
Sat., Dec. 29, 3:15 p.m. (ESPN), New York City
New Era cap
Note: Bowl committee would not disclose details about participants’ gifts, but last year’s gifts included a Sony video camera, Armitron watch, Balfour ring, New Era duffle bag, New Era caps, a winter hat, hoodie, sweatpants, thermal, polo and crew shirt.

Kraft Fight Hunger
Sat., Dec. 29, 4 p.m. (ESPN2), San Francisco
Fossil watch, Nike FuelBand, FoxL wireless portable speaker system, Nike backpack, cap

Valero Alamo
Sat., Dec. 29, 6:45 p.m. (ESPN), San Antonio
Apple iPad Mini, Fossil watch, $100 Best Buy gift card, panoramic team photo, Schutt mini helmet

Buffalo Wild Wings
Sat., Dec. 29, 10:15 p.m. (ESPN), Tempe, Ariz.
Gift suite presented by PAC Sports Division, Fossil watch, Ogio Mercur backpack

Franklin American Mortgage Music City
Mon., Dec. 31, noon (ESPN), Nashville
Gift suite, Fossil watch

Hyundai Sun
Mon., Dec. 31, 2 p.m. (CBS), El Paso, Texas
Timely watch, Majestic fleece, Top of the World cap, coin, Helen of Troy hair dryer

AutoZone Liberty
Mon., Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN), Memphis
Sol Republic Tracks HD Anthem headphones, Bulova watch, Nike athletic shoes and sandals, Nike sunglasses, Nike backpack, football

Chick-fil-A
Mon., Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN), Atlanta
$300 gift card, Fossil watch, Russell Athletic Chick-fil-A Bowl hat, Russell Athletic travel bag, Chick-fil-A gift card

Heart of Dallas Bowl presented by PlainsCapital Bank
Tues., Jan. 1, noon (ESPNU), Dallas
Gift suite
Note: Bowl committee said complete gift packages had not been finalized as of press time.

TaxSlayer.com Gator
Tues., Jan. 1, noon (ESPN2), Jacksonville
Fossil watch, Dome hat, Mercury garment bag and carry-on bag, Jostens ring, football

Capital One
Tues., Jan. 1, 1 p.m. (ABC), Orlando
$420 shopping trip to a local Best Buy*, Fossil watch

Outback
Tues., Jan. 1, 1 p.m. (ESPN), Tampa
$150 Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, ring, cap, Outback Steakhouse gift card

Rose presented by Vizio
Tues., Jan. 1, 5 p.m. (ESPN), Pasadena, Calif.
Gift suite, Fossil watch, Oakley backpack, New Era Thirty9 Thirty cap

Discover Orange
Tues., Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN), Miami Gardens, Fla.
Gift suite, Tourneau watch

Allstate Sugar
Wed. Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN), New Orleans
Gift suite, Fossil watch, New Era cap, Boxer & Stone hoodie

Tostitos Fiesta
Thurs., Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN), Glendale, Ariz.
Gift suite presented by PAC Sports Division, Fossil watch, Ogio Mercur backpack

AT&T Cotton
Fri., Jan. 4, 8 p.m. (Fox), Arlington, Texas
Fossil watch
Note: Bowl committee would not disclose additional details about participant gifts, but last year’s gifts included an iPad2 and a Fossil watch.

BBVA Compass
Sat., Jan. 5, 1 p.m. (ESPN), Birmingham, Ala.
Fossil watch, Oakley Dispatch II sunglasses, wireless portable speaker, backpack, football

GoDaddy.com
Sun., Jan. 6, 9 p.m. (ESPN), Mobile, Ala.
Sol Republic headphones, Fossil watch, leather garment bag, Wilson football

Discover BCS National Championship Game
Mon., Jan. 7, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN), Miami Gardens, Fla.
Gift suite, Tourneau watch

* To be spent during the team’s official store visit. Balance not used that day will be forfeited.
All times listed are ET. Product details are provided as they were available. Most watches, rings, clothing and luggage are custom-made with the bowl logo. Gift suites are set up as private events in which game participants, and often bowl VIPs, are given an order form and allowed to select a gift, or gifts, up to a value that is predetermined by each specific bowl, not to exceed the NCAA limit of $550 per person.

Compiled by David Broughton and Brandon McClung
Sources: Bowl committees and vendors
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