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Volume 25 No. 214
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Gildan Out As New Mexico Bowl Title Sponsor After Eight Years

ESPN, which owns the New Mexico Bowl, will pick up the tab for the sponsorless game
Photo: UNIV. OF NORTH TEXAS

The New Mexico Bowl will be played Saturday without a title sponsor for the first time since '10, as Gildan's contract "quietly ended around nine months ago," according to a front-page piece by Maddy Hayden of the ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL. ESPN, which owns the game, will "pick up the tab in the meantime." New Mexico Bowl Exec Dir Jeff Siembieda said that organizers are "close to finding a replacement title sponsor." Bowl Media Relations Dir RaeAnn McKernan said the game, which this year pits Utah State against North Texas, has the "full support of ESPN Events." McKernan said ticket sales are “on pace with most years." Last year’s bowl, which matched Colorado State and Marshall, "had around 26,000 attendees" (ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL, 12/14). Meanwhile, the Birmingham Bowl, which is also owned by ESPN Events, has signed on jewelry chain Jared for a one-year title sponsorship deal. The game has been without a title sponsor since '14, when BBVA Compass entitled the event (THE DAILY).

WHAT'S IN A NAME? USA TODAY's Brent Schrotenboer noted title sponsorship of the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl cost Elk Grove Village, Ill., $300,000, but Mayor Craig Johnson "estimated it already has received millions of dollars’ worth of publicity from the deal, helping show how even the lowest bowl game can hold huge value -- and why the bowl industry is poised to get even bigger." The sponsorship contract for the Dec. 21 game "calls for logos featuring 'Makers Wanted' at the 50-yard line, on uniform patches and other name displays." ESPN is "required to use the name 'Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl' in all on-air references, in addition to airing commercials for the village during the game." Johnson said, "Go on Google right now, and type in ‘Makers Wanted.’ First listings will be Elk Grove Village. That’s marketing. You want somebody to (notice the bowl name) and go, 'What the heck is Makers Wanted?'" He said the village is “extremely happy” with the deal. Schrotenboer noted this is for "one of the least watched and attended bowl games -- before the game is even played" (USA TODAY, 12/13).