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SBJ/December 5-11, 2016/Colleges
Bowl participants to get some ‘suite’ gifts, and even a few ugly ones
Published December 5, 2016, Page 12
For the third straight year, a majority of college football bowl participants will enjoy a holiday shopping spree instead of simply getting predetermined bling, courtesy of the local bowl committees.
Over the next few weeks, players, coaches and, in some cases, VIPs from 50 schools will wander through a gift suite either on campus or at a venue in the bowl’s host city. The suites are set up prior to the game, with game participants — and often school VIPs — given an order form and allowed to select a gift, or gifts, up to a value that is determined by each bowl, not to exceed the NCAA limit of $550 per person.
|‘Ugly’ sweaters are set for their bowl debut.
Among the bowl gifts, Fossil, New Era, Ogio and Oakley return as familiar brand names this year, although there are a number of new faces. Whitsett, N.C.-based Finrod’s Festive Wear, for example, will make approximately 300 “fun, ugly” holiday sweaters for the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl — a first for that type of holiday bowl giveaway.
“My favorite is the Lockheed Martin F-35 silhouette,” said Brant Ringler, the game’s executive director. “This should be a fun gift.”
Players on four teams will get custom-made reproductions of themselves: Tax-Slayer Bowl participants will get to pose for bobbleheads, and players in the Quick Lane Bowl will receive a life-sized self-portrait wall decal.
Another item new to the fold this year is an inflatable couch, being given by the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Mike Feder, the committee’s executive director, said the “big-lazy” couch is the same style that was given to guests at this year’s ESPY Awards, and it can handle a person up to 500 pounds.
Top Brands Given To Bowl Participants
|Brand(s)||No. of bowls providing|
|New Era, Ogio||7|
|Timely Watch Co.||5|
|Best Buy, Under Armour, ISlide||4|
Note: Does not include brands that are offered in gift suites.
Sources: Bowl committees and vendors
San Francisco-based messenger bag maker Timbuk2, Amazon Echo Dot and sunglasses from Boise, Idaho-based Proof Eyewear are also making their bowl debuts this year.
As they have since SportsBusiness Journal’s inaugural list was published in 2006, Goodyear Cotton Bowl representatives would not disclose the contents of this year’s gift package. Organizers of this season’s national championship game also declined to provide details of their presents.
Typically, the CFP’s items are received on campus after the game, and the rings arrive in late February.