See your company in lights: The costs of Naming Rights to a Bowl Game
Just like last year, college football’s 35 bowl games will generate just under $100 million from their title sponsors with about $71 million going to ESPN. Despite the big business of college football, it seems like every bowl season games get new title sponsors, and they have increasingly have gotten more bizarre every year. From the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl to the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, they are getting to be more of a mouthful and headache for fans to remember.
Obviously, college bowl games bring in a ton of publicity and notoriety for the potential sponsor by slapping their name on the bowl game, but is this investment really worth it? Are companies really reaching – and more importantly influencing – their current and potential customer’s buying decisions? And are those targeted customers even watching the game? TV ratings are something that has to be taken into account as well. This is paramount to consider especially when taking a look at the naming rights fees for each bowl game.
IEG put together a great table of showing each bowl game’s fee for securing title sponsorship or presenting sponsorship naming rights and here are a few that stood out to me below:
- The Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman, and Heart of Dallas Bowl presented by PlainsCapital Bank (presenting sponsor) were the cheapest in naming rights fees at $350,000
- The AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic and Outback Bowl were the most expensive non-BCS bowl games at $3 million a piece
- Average bowl game naming rights fees were $2.8 million
- MAACO got a great bang for their buck as the Las Vegas Bowl received 4.4 million (roughly a 3.4 rating) viewers while only paying $500,000 for naming rights. In comparison, the Rose Bowl received a 9.6 rating (lowest since 2001) where Vizio paid $15 million for presenting rights.
Back to the audience point. While corporate hospitality is a big incentive for companies to sponsor a bowl game, TV ratings are the biggest influencer on return on investment. Do companies such as Bell Helicopter and Bridgestone Education really have the need to appeal to a mass TV audience? I personally don’t think so as those in particular are generally B2B companies instead of focusing on the consumer. Often times companies can get caught up in seeing their name in the shiny lights of a college bowl game and fail to truly get their monies worth in their investment. How they activate and engage with not only the attendee, but the viewer at home is critical in seeing a return on their sponsorship.
Which companies do the best job at utilizing their sponsorship of a bowl game? We would love to hear your thoughts!