Later, Gator: TaxSlayer Signs Six-Year Extension With Jacksonville Bowl Game
The TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl will become the TaxSlayer Bowl in '15 under a new six-year sponsorship agreement announced Thursday. The extension enables the bowl to negotiate long-term TV deals and conference tie-ins. Beginning in '15, the game will be televised on ESPN and feature an SEC team playing either a Big Ten or ACC school (THE DAILY). In Jacksonville, Justin Barney reports TaxSlayer hopes to use the sponsorship "to boost the game's bowl visibility and ultimately see it as a standalone, prime-time product on ESPN." The game is set to be played on Jan. 2 the next two years, and could "potentially change dates and time slots after that." TaxSlayer Bowl President & CEO Rick Catlett said, "A new TV deal and new title sponsor deal significantly increases our revenues, which we can use for increased team payouts." Barney notes in the "ever-changing bowl landscape," the deal was "necessary to give the game ... more funding and a better blueprint going forward." Gator Bowl Sports & Entertainment COO Alan Verlander said that the group's "ultimate goal" is to have the game as a "standalone event in an ESPN prime-time spot, preferably on a Friday or Saturday night." Verlander: "We want to be on the date closest as possible to New Year's Day, but makes us a prime-time game" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 4/4).