By Barry Janoff
June 19, 2012: National sports company Russell Athletic, seeking to make a statement in college football, has signed a deal with Florida Citrus Sports for naming rights to the newly named Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.
Financial terms of the alliance, which runs through 2015, were not disclosed.
Previous title sponsor Champs Sports said it would continue its relationship with Florida Citrus Sports as an "official partner" of both the Russell Athletic Bowl and the Capital One Bowl, also under the auspices of Florida Citrus Sports, through 2014.
Other official partners of the game include Anheuser-Busch (Bud Light) and Capital One.
The 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl is scheduled for Dec. 28 at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium featuring teams from the Atlantic Coast and Big East Conferences. The game will air live on ESPN.
As part of the multi-year deal, Bowling Green, Ky.-based Russell Athletic, a division of Russell Brands, LLC, said it would receive national exposure through TV, radio and online media, including Twitter and Facebook. Russell Athletic will also receive in-stadium signage and local recognition during the week long schedule of Russell Athletic Bowl-related events.
In addition, the game will receive marketing support via broadcast, outdoor and print throughout Central Florida.
The deal also names Russell Athletic as the exclusive apparel partner of Florida Citrus Sports, providing apparel and merchandise to all of FCSports' properties, including the Russell Athletic Bowl, Capital One Bowl and Fresh From Florida Parade. Russell Athletic said that related merchandise would soon be available.
"As a brand whose heritage is so deeply rooted in college football, it is a natural fit for Russell Athletic to partner with FCSports for the Russell Athletic Bowl."
"As a brand whose heritage is so deeply rooted in college football, it is a natural fit for Russell Athletic to partner with FCSports for the Russell Athletic Bowl," Gary Barfield, executive vice president, Russell Brands, said in a statement. "We are also excited to extend our 'Together We R' brand campaign in new ways and reach even more consumers through all the channels that FCSports provides as part of this relationship."
Russell Athletic said it would work with FCSports in the coming year "to help negotiate the new conference agreements that will bring Orlando a premier bowl match up after the current conference affiliations expire following the 2013 edition of the game."
"We are honored to add Russell Athletic as a bowl title sponsor and business partner through the 2015 season," Steve Hogan, CEO for Florida Citrus Sports, said in a statement. "'Together We R' committed to providing one of the best student-athlete experiences offered in the post-season and this agreement launches an exciting new era for this bowl game."
This 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl marks the 23rd year of the game and its 12th in Orlando. Last year's game between Florida State and Notre Dame marked the first sellout and highest attendance in Orlando with 68,305 fans, according to Florida Citrus Sports. Six million people also watched the game on ESPN.