Nothing fuzzy here: It's Chick-fil-A Bowl in '06

Updated: December 16, 2005, 5:04 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- The Peach Bowl will have a new name in 2006 -- the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

The Atlanta-based fast-food restaurant became a title sponsor of the bowl in 1997 and will become the sole name beginning next season, joining the growing number of postseason games that have gone with corporate names to increase revenue.

Peach Bowl officials said the new arrangement includes a significant increase in Chick-fil-A's financial support and a multiyear extension of the sponsorship deal.

"This new agreement with our partners at Chick-fil-A will guarantee the continued growth and success of our game and allow us to make huge strides in elevating the already prominent status of this bowl game," Peach Bowl president Gary Stokan said.

For Chick-fil-A, the deal ensures that its name will be included in any mention of the game. Company officials were troubled that many media outlets left out their brand and simply referred to the game as the Peach Bowl, even though Chick-fil-A is part of the official name.

"Chick-fil-A is completely committed to making our sponsorship of the Chick-fil-A Bowl the most significant marketing initiative we have around college athletics," said Steve Robinson, the company's senior vice president of marketing. "As Chick-fil-A grows nationally as a chain, our goal is to clearly communicate our brand in a meaningful way, and we believe the Chick-fil-A Bowl will be a national platform for that effort."

The company dropped its sponsorship of an Atlanta-area LPGA golf tournament after this year's event, deciding to focus its marketing on college athletics.

The 38-year-old Peach Bowl is following the trend in postseason games, which began in 1990 when the Sun Bowl became the first to go totally corporate with the John Hancock Bowl. This season, seven of 28 bowls games are named after a sponsoring company (though not the Sun, which went back to its original name in 1994).

The final Peach Bowl with the current name will be Dec. 30, pitting ninth-ranked Miami and No. 10 LSU in the only non-BSC matchup of two Top 10 teams. Bowl officials already have announced their ninth straight sellout and a record payout of $2.4 million for the game, which matches teams from the Southeastern and Atlantic Coast conferences.

"There is no doubt that this bowl is where it is today because of Chick-fil-A," Stokan said. "And there is also no doubt that this new agreement will set the Chick-fil-A Bowl down a path ensuring its position on the top tier of bowl games in the country."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press