rundown of Michigan's riser
Hokepoints of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems For Home, Office Or Mobile (sic)
We're just a few days away from the start of bowl season, which means I get make my annual appeal against subsidized hell. But first a short message from Billy…
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I'm not against branding. We do plenty of it, and I plan to do more. Sponsoring a nice thing so people can have it for free is one of the most polite ways folks have yet found to introduce themselves to customers. Marketing is subject to the same rules of propriety as all other intra-species communication. Polite: Your banner over the entrance to the guest lecture you're sponsoring. Impolite: making the lecturer interrupt his spiel to talk about the fantastic deals you're currently offering. Polite: Leaving your business card on the restaurant's bulletin board. Impolite: Renaming all the meats in the sandwiches after your products. Also impolite: naming your kid "Need School Supplies? Call 1-800-555-PENS and We'll Deliver!" so that every time the teacher does roll call you're drumming up business.
So yeah, my real beef is with naming rights that become a barrier to communication. The Rose Bowl doesn't need to remind anybody where it takes place or who's supposed to be in it because years of tradition have made it apparent. Outback Steakhouse annoyed me at first, but over a decade of having the name plus the smart decision to leave out the second half of their name (thus actually being easier to say than "Hall of Fame") allowed it to settle. Plus the Outback is a place on Earth; it is conceivable in the imagination that a bowl might be played amidst the gumnuts and wallabies. Bowls for causes annoy me less if they're nouns (Liberty, Independence) than adjectives (Humanitarian), which in turn is better than sentence fragments (Fight Hunger). Synonyms (Military*/Armed Forces) shouldn't be allowed. I'd prefer if newer bowls include the city name for the first five to ten years (e.g. San Francisco Fight Hunger Bowl). Anyway these are all things people might name an event without obviously having to get paid to do so.
That's where I draw the line. Adding "presented by ___" as part of the name makes it easier to ignore but still as disingenuous as if I changed my blogging handle to "Seth Presented by Iowa Corngrowers Association of America." Calling a young event the "Brelk" or "Breef-o-Ladies" means we'll never figure out where the hell it is. Letting that tire company with a name that sounds like a German salute name a second bowl after themselves when they lost the naming rights to the first is borderline criminal. Even more criminal is allowing a terribly named company to take over a well-established brand. The Copper Bowl can't claim the history of the Copper Bowl if it's no longer called the Copper Bowl. And here's where I bring up how the chicken people want to get rid of peaches:
I am guessing this is what the protests were about earlier this year.
*Since the one in D.C. is newer it should be told to change to something that differentiates it from the Fort Worth bowl. How about "The Great Big U.S.O. Show" since it's the U.S.O. that sponsors it anyway.
Half the bowls need to die. This year's lineup will feature 70 teams in 35 bowl games. For reference, the 71st-best team according to FEI this year is 3-8 Arkansas. Teams much worse than John L. Smith'd Arkansas are in bowl games. East Carolina and Louisiana-Lafayette will have a bowl game for a $500,000 payout provided by the title sponsor, who is a trucking company from Wilmington, Ohio. Somebody will broadcast it, and TV crews will show that one ECU fan dressed like a pirate and a few Cajun fans while studiously avoiding angles that show the 90% of Superdome currently unoccupied. And ultimately many people—especially those schools who'll be shelling out way more than 500k to settle their entourage in bowl-approved New Orleans hotels—will ask "why are we even having this?" And the only answers are "because to somebody this is still profitable," and "we need the practices and the swag and the recruit invitations so we can remain competitive."
No I don't think it'll change anything. If someone was going to have a conversation about diluting the concept it would have been had 20 years ago. I am resigned to a future in which the Enterprise Products Partners Bowl matches the 9th Big Ten team vs. the No. 5 Sun Belt team (you are not sure if I just made that one up just now). A win here is if people on this site and others adopt the non-subsidized logos and terminology.