At the restaurant where I had dinner last night (sushi at the bar of the Three Seasons), a football game was flickering past on television: the Valero Alamo Bowl. I was at first puzzled by the name, until I saw that it had a structure: Valero (name of the corporate sponsor, the Valero Energy Corporation) + Alamo (the “proper name” of the bowl, after the Alamo mission in San Antonio, Texas) + Bowl. (I’ve since learned that this game had a previous history as the Builders Square Alamo Bowl, the Sylvania Alamo Bowl, and the MasterCard Alamo Bowl. Bowl names change a lot; the Champs Sports Bowl — Champs Sports is a division of Foot Locker — used to be the Blockbuster Bowl and then the Tangerine Bowl.)
Announcements of other bowl games flashed past. There are a lot more bowl games than there were when I was a boy (there are 34 this season), and most of them are branded (my favorites among the three-parters are the San Diego County Credit Union Pointsettia Bowl and the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl). Even the BCS [Bowl Championship Series] National Championship Game is the FedEx BCS National Championship Game.
There are in fact three schemes for bowl names, two of them involving branding.