What’s In A College Bowl Game Name?


It’s college bowl game season, which means 40 post-season games that vary in importance from playing for a national championship to playing for pride.

Bowl games were originally given names that related to an iconic local product or symbol, hence Orange Bowl for Miami, Peach Bowl for Atlanta and Rose Bowl for Pasadena (home of the Tournament of Roses Parade).

Like most things, however, money has entered the equation and now all bowl games have a sponsor, usually in the title. Here’s my rundown on the names.

College bowl game markets here.

The Five Best

1. Cheez-It Bowl: Who can’t get around a bowl named after an orangy, cheesy snack?

2. Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl: Surely the Cap’n Crunch Gator Bowl can’t be far behind? No matter, this one’s sure to be ‘gr-r-reat!’

3. Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl: Any bowl that combines the name Bad Boy Mowers with Gasparilla, a mythical pirate who inspires weeks of partying has to be good, doesn’t it?

4. Camellia Bowl: Not a well-known bowl, but the name harkens back to a more innocent time before the term ‘naming rights’ entered the lexicon.

5. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: A long-standing favourite, made even better by the fact that it’s played on Boise State’s blue field.

The Five Worst

1. Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl: The game is in Frisco, Texas. The sponsor is the Tropical Smoothie Cafe chain. Now say it fast five times.

2. San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl: Another one that rolls right off the tongue.

3. Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl: A very long and very confusing name. Almost sounds like two different bowl games.

4. Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Not as confusing, but still very long.

5. Rose Bowl Presented by Northwestern Mutual: The prestigious Rose Bowl opted for the ‘Presented by’ touch, and although somewhat classier than just selling the name, it’s a real mouthful.

No Messing Around, Just Put The Name of the Sponsor In the Title

-Camping World Bowl: Just like the Australian firm of the same name, it’s a chain of outdoor camping speciality stores.

-Redbox Bowl: Redbox is a kiosk-based movie rental company.

-Belk Bowl: Belk is a department store chain in the American south.

-Outback Bowl: Named for Outback Steakhouse, the faux Aussie chain of restaurants.

-LendingTree Bowl: As you might think, LendingTree is a personal loan company.

Traditional Bowl Games That Bow To Sponsorship Requirements But Keep It Fairly Simple

-Goodyear Cotton Bowl: Tyres. Cotton. Sure, why not?

-Capital One Orange Bowl: Financial services company Capital One has been the sponsor since 2014.

-Autozone Liberty Bowl: Autozone, as you’d expect is a car parts retailer.

-Valero Alamo Bowl: Valero is the world’s largest independent petroleum refiner.

-Allstate Sugar Bowl: Allstate, a huge insurance firm, is a longtime sponsor of American football.

-Taxslayer Gator Bowl: As you might think, Taxslayer is a tax preparation business.

-Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl: Chick-fil-A is a fast food chain based out of Atlanta, home of the Peach Bowl.

-Playstation Fiesta Bowl: Playstation has been the sponsor since 2016.

City Wants Bowl Game, City Gets Sponsor

-Ticketsmarter Birmingham Bowl: Papa Johns was the original sponsor, and this is the first year for Ticketsmarter, an online ticket broker.

-Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl: Very bizarre name and backstory. ‘Makers Wanted’ is a slogan encouraging businesses to relocate to Elk Grove Village, Illinois which has the largest industrial park in North America. It’s the second year of the sponsorship and the hope is the TV exposure will tempt people to check it out.

-Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl: This is the second year for Mitsubishi as naming rights sponsor.

-R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: R+L is a freight shipping company.

-Walk On’s Independence Bowl: Walk On’s is a chain of family/sports bars.

-NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Self-explanatory.

-New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Hat maker New Era is the sponsor, ‘Pinstripe’ refers to the New York Yankees’ uniforms, since the game is played in Yankee Stadium.

Let’s Keep It Simple

-Cure Bowl: Dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer, this bowl no longer has the name of the sponsor – FBC Mortage – in the title.

-Celebration Bowl: A clash between what are known as historically Black colleges from the SWAC and MEAC conferences.

-Mobile Alabama Bowl: Yep, it’s played in Mobile, Alabama.

-New Mexico Bowl: See above.

Could Not Ask For a More Appropriate Sponsor

-Servpro First Responder Bowl: Servpro is a fire/water cleanup and restoration franchise.

-Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Lockheed Martin is a global aerospace and defense technology giant.

-Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman: Northrop Grumman is another global aerospace and defense technology firm.

Relatively Obscure Sponsors

-Vrbo Citrus Bowl: Vrbo is a vacation rental site.

-Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl: Cheribundi is an anti-oxidant fruit juice.

-SOFi Hawaii Bowl: SoFi is a lending company.

-Quick Lane Bowl: Quick Lane is an oil change/car service chain.

What do you think?