Not any longer. Now it’s body shops, credit unions and vitamins.
With the addition of sponsors’ identities, bowl-game names have become largely forgettable, not to mention unpronounceable. Management committees have chosen short-term revenue over long-term bowl brand identity. In several cases, the bowls have no independent identity whatsoever, e.g. GoDaddy.com Bowl. What will the game be called when GoDaddy goes?
Following is my ranking, worst to best, of this uninspired lot of bowl names. I give points for protecting the bowl brand, tying it to a logically strategic sponsor, and keeping the name short. I take away points for acronyms and poor judgment in general.
35. AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl. A bad product name does not make a good bowl name.
34. S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. I wonder if they give away bowls of poinsettias when you open an account. Too long! And what does S.D. stand for? San Diego or South Dakota?
33. BBVA Compass Bowl. Once upon a time, the letters BBVA stood for something. As with all acronyms, the name becomes meaningless and difficult to remember over time.
32. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. Nothing says music like a refinanced mortgage. At least Franklin American is headquartered near Nashville.
31. Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. Is a “bowl of Texas” like a “can of whoop-ass?” The Meineke Texas Bowl would work better.
30. Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. Let’s see … an “education holiday?” That would be … Spring Break! The Bridgepoint Spring Break Bowl!
29. Belk Bowl. Plus points for brevity. Minus points for sounding like a receptacle for those suffering nausea. “Quick, hand me a Belk Bowl!”
28. Discover BCS National Championship. Spelled out, this reads Discover Bowl Championship Series National Championship. Note the two “championships.” How about the Discover National Championship Bowl instead?
27. GoDaddy.com Bowl. From a sponsor’s perspective, owning the bowl name is ideal. From the bowl committee’s perspective, not so much. Once the sponsor goes away, there is no bowl identity to leverage. In this name, the “.com” gets in the way. It would work better as the GoDaddy Bowl.
26. Capital One Bowl. (See 27 regarding bowls with no independent identity.)
25. Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. This one should be shortened to “Little Caesars Bowl.” (See 27 regarding bowls with no independent identity.)
24. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Football and tailgate food go together. (See 27 regarding bowls with no independent identity.)
23. Chick-fil-A Bowl. Ditto. (See 27 regarding bowls with no independent identity.)
22. Outback Bowl. Short and sweet. Too bad it’s not Australian Rules Football. (See 27 regarding bowls with no independent identity.)
21. R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The brands for some bowls are their locations, so they rank higher than those with no identities. However, this one loses points for its length and acronym. R+L is a “global transportation solution” that started in Ohio. Why the tie to New Orleans?
20. MAACO Las Vegas Bowl. The name MAACO was created from the founder’s name, Anthony A. Martino. Additionally, he originated AAMCO. Bowl fans, be glad Anthony didn’t also found AMACO, COAMA, and COMAA. (See 21 regarding geographic bowl names.)
19. Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Gildan’s t-shirts, sport shirts and fleece wear are often sold at sports venues. (See 21 regarding geographic bowl names.)
18. Valero Alamo Bowl. This oil refiner was named for the mission San Antonio de Valero — the original name of the Alamo, which gives deeper meaning to its hometown bowl sponsorship. (See 21 regarding geographic bowl names.)
17. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl. Beef’s started in Florida and expanded throughout the southeast, so the bowl location makes sense. A shorter, more memorable name would be Beef’s Bowl. (See 21 regarding geographic bowl names.)
16. Heart of Dallas Bowl. Is the Heart of Dallas in the Bowl of Texas? (See 15 regarding bowls named after causes.)
15. Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Not to be confused with the Kraft Buy Cheese Bowl. For Kraft, naming a bowl after its charity is a unique cause marketing strategy. (The charity supports three San Francisco-area hunger organizations.) It’s especially effective in context with the Chick-fil-A, Little Caesars, Outback and Buffalo Wild Wings bowl names.
14. AutoZone Liberty Bowl. AutoZone is headquartered in Memphis, which makes this a logical hometown bowl sponsorship.
13. TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl. There’s something edgy about “slayer” and “gator” in the same name, but the “.com” gets in the way. TaxSlayer Gator Bowl would work better.
12. AT&T Cotton Bowl. This major bowl puts its sponsor’s name first, unlike the Rose Bowl. At least they keep it short.
11. Allstate Sugar Bowl. (See 12.)
10. Discover Orange Bowl. (See 12.)
9. New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The game is played at Yankee Stadium (Get it? Pinstripes?) and New Era sells officially licensed ball caps. Nice tie.
8. Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Long, but at least a logical connection.
7. Hyundai Sun Bowl. Extra points for alliteration.
6. Russell Athletic Bowl. Football? Athletic apparel? Another good connection.
5. Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Makes sense if you’re dreaming of a winter getaway.
4. Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman. A logical tie, plus the name gets points for putting the bowl brand first.
3. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Not only is there a nice connection between the brand name and the bowl name, but, strategically, it promotes snacking while watching.
2. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. This name is too long, but it receives points for promoting a place-of-origin commodity, like sugar, cotton, and oranges. How about dropping “Famous?”
1. Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio. The Rose Bowl Management Committee understands what other bowl committees do not; that is, their bowl is itself a brand and needs protected. They put the bowl ahead of the sponsor. Sorry, Vizio.
So, who’s your pick in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl?