Jeez, talk about the tail wagging the dog here -
FedEx has informed ESPN that it will not renew its entitlement of the Orange Bowl, ending a 21-year association with the Bowl Championship Series event. The move ends what was the longest-running title sponsorship of a BCS game.
For more than two decades as an Orange Bowl sponsor, the game became FedEx’s biggest annual hospitality event, with the company entertaining as many as 700 customers over three to four days in Miami.
While the game itself was important to FedEx, the company was not interested in a larger college football platform. ESPN is reserving bowl game entitlements for companies that buy a lengthy and more expensive college football package starting in September.
ESPN is reserving? What does that mean in practical terms?
… ESPN has hit the market with the Orange Bowl’s title sponsorship and has begun negotiations with other brands.
“We are in active discussions around the Orange Bowl, which is a premier property and presents a tremendous marketing opportunity. FedEx remains an important client and we continue to be engaged with them in other areas,” ESPN’s president of customer marketing and sales Ed Erhardt said in a statement e-mailed by ESPN PR.
The network, which will be carrying the BCS games for the first time next year and is selling all sponsorship and advertising inventory, is seeking around $20 million annually over four years for a new title deal that includes ad commitments, sources said.
The WWL is doing the same with the other BCS bowls, too. So at this point, it’s cut deals with the bowls and the SEC. It brokers games between schools. And now it’s lining up the game’s biggest sponsors.
It seems to me that the people lobbying Congress and the NCAA to force a playoff are pitching the wrong folks. ESPN has more clout than either. Or both, for that matter.