December 15, 2010: Add the Gator Bowl to the list of post-season college football games that will go to market with a new title sponsor. Progressive Insurance said it has signed a one-year deal to become the new title sponsor of the Gator Bowl, beginning with the Jan. 1, 2011 game. The pact has a three-year option.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Gator Bowl was title sponsored by Konica Minolta from 2007-2010. Previous title sponsors were Mazda (1986-1991), Outback Steakhouse (1992-1994) and Toyota (1996-2006).
The Progressive Gator Bowl will be played on January 1, 2011 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fl., on ESPN2. The New Year's Day matchup features the Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. the University of Michigan Wolverines. Sponsors also include Bank of America, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), Domino's, Jim Beam, Hyatt, Gatorade and McDonald's.
"Progressive is one of the best-known brands in the country," Steve Tremel, chairman of The Gator Bowl Assn., said in a statement. "Our association with them furthers our standing as one of the premier Bowl games in the nation."
The Mayfield Village, Ohio-based company is expected to support with national TV and local marketing, including spots featuring its always-happy-to-help sales clerk Flo (played by actress Stephanie Courtney). The company also has naming rights to Progressive Field, home of MLB's Cleveland Indians.
According to Progressive CMO Jeff Charney, "The Gator Bowl is a fan favorite. And, this year is all about settling the SEC and Big Ten Conference superiority contest. We're glad to be a part of it and proud to sponsor the game on behalf of our more than 25,000 employees, our more than 30,000 independent agents and the nearly 12 million people who choose Progressive."
Other bowl games this season with new title sponsors include the Rose Bowl presented by Vizio, Discover Orange Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.) and the GoDaddy.com Bowl (Mobile, Ala.).
"Our association with Progressive furthers our standing as one of the premier Bowl games in the nation." — Steve Tremel, chairman of The Gator Bowl Assn.
There was an unusually high turnover rate in college football bowl naming rights this season, due in large part to Fox completing its four-year deal to broadcast the five-game Bowl Championship Series and ESPN acquiring the rights to sell all sponsorship and advertising for the BCS games as part of a four-year, $495 million deal with the NCAA.