Cynical Synapse

Sun, 03 Jan 2010

What Happened to Good Old-Fashioned Bowl Games?

Filed under: Bailout, Business, Detroit, Greed, Life, Rants, Sports — cynicalsynapse @ 11:23 am

Rose Bowl stadium

For football fans—and their widows—we’re in the midst of college bowl season. Maybe there are too many bowl games. Just as most major league ball stadia have corporate sponsorship under naming rights agreements, so, too, do most of the bowl games. I think this commercialization of our entertainment is a travesty. It highlights our society’s shallowness and could well be one of the reasons those in less fortunate quarters of the world hate the US. But I digress

I’m not a big football fan, nor do I play one on TV. But I am a bit of a traditionalist. I liked the Rose Bowl being played on New Year’s Day. We don’t have that anymore—now it’s the Rose Bowl Game by Citi. And is Citi paying for those naming rights with taxpayer dollars (from the bailout)?

My other issue is if Citi is presenting the Rose Bowl, why do I have to buy tickets? If I have to buy tickets, it’s paid for by me (and everyone else and the broadcasters). To add insult to injury, this year’s game was the 96th Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi. Um, the current corporate sponsor did not present all the previous games, so stop pretending like you did. For the record, I’m not more likely to do business with Citi because they “present” the Rose Bowl nor am I any more likely to attend the game.

Here’s a list of former bowl games that are now under the corporate spell. A spell, by the way, those corporations write off on their taxes just so we have to say longer names for games we’re interested in. Those in bold have no single blatant corporate sponsors in their names or on their web sites. I’m not opposed to sponsors—that’s just advertising. But don’t make it part of the name. Only 5 out of 34 (15%) fit that bill.

Bowl game logos

  • December 19th games
    • St. Petersburg Bowl Presented by Beef ‘O’ Brady’s
    • New Mexico Bowl IV—no blatant single corporate sponsor
  • December 20th game: R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
  • December 22nd game: MAACO Bowl Las Vegas
  • December 23rd game: San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
  • December 24th game: Sheraton Hawaii Bowl
  • December 26th games
    • Little Ceasars Pizza Bowl (formerly the Motor City Bowl Presented by GM, Ford, and Union Carpenters and Millwrights)
    • Meinike Car Care Bowl
    • Emerald Bowl—no blatant single corporate sponsor
  • December 27th game: Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl (Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl in 2010)
  • December 28th game: Advocare V100 Independence Bowl
  • December 29th games
    • Champs Sports Bowl—no blatant single corporate sponsor
    • EagleBank Bowl
  • December 30th games
    • Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl—any irony in a truck stop chain being associated with humanitarian?
    • Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
  • December 31st games
    • Texas Bowl—no blatant single corporate sponsor
    • Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl
    • Insight Bowl
    • Brut Sun Bowl
    • Chick-fil-A Bowl (formerly the Peach Bowl)
  • January 1st games
    • 96th Rose Bowl Game Presented by Citi
    • 75th Anniversary Allstate Sugar Bowl
    • Outback Bowl
    • Konica Minolta Gator Bowl
    • Capital One Bowl
  • January 2nd games
    • Bowl
    • Valero Alamo Bowl
    • AT&T Cotton Bowl
    • 51st AutoZone Liberty Bowl
    • International Bowl—no blatant single corporate sponsor
  • January 4th game: 39th Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
  • January 5th game: FedEx Orange Bowl
  • January 6th game: GMAC Bowl—no wonder they got into trouble; the countdown to kickoff says 367 days, but I figure it’s 3 days
  • January 7th game: BCS Championship Bowl in association with Fox Sports

pizza bowl

As if the bankruptcy of two of the Big 3 domestic automakers wasn’t bad enough, Detroit suffers another blow. The Motor City Bowl is now a pizza bowl. Nothing against Little Ceasars, but couldn’t they have gone with the Motor City Bowl Presented by Little Ceasars? Sheesh!



  1. hi sir
    It’s hardly a shock: public-company executives (with help from lapdog-like Board members) have for years been funneling masses of shareholder dollars to themselves.

    Comment by Property in mohali — Sun, 03 Jan 2010 @ 10:29 pm

  2. Happy New year Cynical!

    And I am in definite agreement with you here. Like you, I don’t watch much football until it gets close to Superbowl, and only then if there’s a team I’m somewhat interested in. Hardly ever watch college ball. But that being said, it has bothered me for quite some time how the corporations have taken over the bowl games, as well as the stadium names. I’m originally from Denver, and hard core Broncos fans like my mother are still pissed that Broncos Stadium has been shoved aside by Invesco Field. And to have Bowl games “brought to you by” this company or that just rubs me all kind of wrong ways.

    Comment by teamowens313 — Mon, 04 Jan 2010 @ 12:24 pm

    • And Happy New Year to you, TeamOwens!

      The last Tigers game I was at was in Tiger Stadium. Of course, it would help if they had a couple decent seasons in a row, but I’m not sure I want to go to Comerica Park. Doubly so since Comerica moved their headquarters to Texas.

      Comment by cynicalsynapse — Mon, 04 Jan 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  3. Hey there Cynical! Agree with your sentiments 100% – this culture of corporate sponsorship is nauseating to me as well! Like you, I value the original names and traditions (for example: doesn’t the “Peach Bowl” have a much better ring to it than the, ahem. . .Chick-fil-A Bowl?!)

    With that in mind, I am sorry to be the bearer of more bad news: two of the five bowls that you listed as being free of a corporate sponsor do, in fact, have the sponsor’s name worked into the title. The Emerald Bowl, held in San Francisco, was named after it’s sponsor: Emerald Nuts ( The Champs Sports Bowl, held in Orlando, is named for the sporting goods store Champs Sports (

    This drops the number of “pure” bowl games down to a paltry 3 out of 34. . .very depressing. I wish that more bowl organizers would listen to your opinions instead of the companies shelling out money to ruin classic gridiron traditions. Alas, I think that money talks louder than fan input and tradition (as we have seen with this whole notion of conference realignment).

    Oh well, still wanted to say that I enjoyed your article!

    Comment by SavetheBowls — Mon, 27 Sep 2010 @ 10:43 am

    • Man! Thanks for your feedback, even if it’s not what I wanted to hear. For the record, I’m also annoyed by x event sponsored by megacorp. If they’re sponsoring it, why do I have to buy a ticket?

      Comment by cynicalsynapse — Thu, 30 Sep 2010 @ 7:35 pm

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