Bowl games

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.

(All the names below are as listed on the ESPN site for 2008-09 bowl games.)

First, there are still a few old-fashioned, unbranded, names:

New Mexico Bowl, Motor City Bowl, Emerald Bowl, Independence Bowl, Texas Bowl, International Bowl

Then there are names that are nothing but branding:

EagleBank Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl, Bowl, Insight Bowl (formerly Copper Bowl, then Bowl), Chick-fil-A Bowl (my favorite in this category, though the competition is stiff), Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl, GMAC Bowl

And then the three-parters (with the “proper name” part in bold face):

magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl, Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl, R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, San Diego County Credit Union Pointsettia Bowl, Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Valero Alamo Bowl, Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl (Roady’s Truck Stops), Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Brut Sun Bowl (the winner in the brevity sweepstakes), Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, Konica Minolta Gator Bowl, FedEx Orange Bowl, AT&T Cotton Bowl, Auto Zone Liberty Bowl, Allstate Sugar Bowl, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

(plus the idiosyncratic: Rose Bowl Game Presented by Citi.)

So the old familiar names are still around, but swallowed in a haze of corporate sponsorship.

[There are other football games called “bowls” beyond the 34 above. There’s a Wikipedia page listing these, including all-star games called “bowls” (for example, Hula Bowl and Aztec Bowl), regular-season rivalries called “bowls” (for example, Corn Bowl, Crab Bowl, Egg Bowl, Iron Bowl, and Textile Bowl), and a long list of now-defunct bowl games (for example, Aloha Bowl, Camellia Bowl, Glass Bowl, Pineapple Bowl, and Vulcan Bowl).]

4 Responses to “Bowl games”

  1. Philip Says:

    Dunno if you’re a fan of the late David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest,” but the chronology of his near-future world involved “revenue-enhancing subsidized time.” Corporations would bid to name an entire year–and the Statue of Liberty was redecorated appropriately. The new calendar was:

    1. Year of the Whopper
    2. Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad
    3. Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar
    4. Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken
    5. Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster
    6. Year of the Yushityu 2007 mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems for Home, Office, Or Mobile (sic)
    7. Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland
    8. Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment
    9. Year of Glad

    Happy New Year!

  2. C.J. Says:

    Someone probably mentioned this already, but there was a curious crossover with the “Emerald Bowl”, because it is now sponsored by the company Emerald Nuts, but I believe that before being sponsored, it was in fact just the Emerald Bowl.

  3. arnoldzwicky Says:

    To C.J.: I should have checked out Emerald Bowl. I now see that it should belong in the “nothing but branding” category. From the Wikipedia page:

    The Emerald Bowl is a post-season college football bowl game certified by the NCAA that has been played annually at 40,800-seat AT&T Park (home of the San Francisco Giants) in San Francisco, California, since 2002. It was previously known as the San Francisco Bowl and its official name was the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl in recognition of the corporate title sponsor, Diamond of California, from 2002 to 2003. (The company is now known as Diamond Foods, Inc., with Emerald of California its primary snack nut brand, and as such remains the title sponsor.)

  4. Comments spam « Arnold Zwicky’s Blog Says:

    […] By arnoldzwicky My posting on bowl games got some relevant comments, but then there was an avalanche of spam comments. […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: