posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 2:38 PM
Today and tomorrow, we embark on the daunting task of replacing eight years' worth of logos. Shirts, signage, stationary...probably some other things that don't begin with "s."
This is the bowl's first name change in eight years, the longest stretch in an admittedly patchwork title history. By the time Florida Citrus Sports purchased the game in 2001, it had seen four different names (Blockbuster Bowl, Carquest Bowl, MicronPC Bowl and MicronPC.com Bowl). At the time, it was among the lowest tier of bowl games in a field of 25.
Starting in 2001 it became the Tangerine Bowl, a throwback to the old days of Orlando's original bowl game (now the Capital One Bowl). We had two title sponsors under the Tangerine name (Visit Florida and Mazda) before Champs Sports came on board in 2004 and helped bring the game to the next level.
In preparing for the name change, I wondered aloud why our predecessors hadn't just started a game from scratch, and why we kept true to the 23-year history that started in Miami instead of just hitting the reset button. The answer was that I had the luxury of hindsight: the bowl field has expanded by 10 games since 2001, and the ubiquity has created the perception that it was easy to just start one. That wasn't the case in 2001, and when Florida Citrus Sports wanted to host a second game, they went out an acquired it from someone else.
For more on the name history (and a slightly more cynical take on the nature of bowl sponsorship), Matt Hinton offers some details at CBS Sports (the abuse is worth the trade-off of having Matt back at a major sports outlet). The short response from our perspective: dollars from Champs Sports' title sponsorship were invested straight into the participating teams, whether directly through team payouts or indirectly through improvement of the overall bowl week experience. It's hard to say that we'd be in the same position* we are now without the commitment we had from our title sponsor and that commitment will continue with Russell Athletic.
* - That position, in a nutshell: within the top third of all bowls, worth flipping to during Capital One Bowl Week or making the trip if your team is selected
We don't claim grand tradition on this bowl, only a history. As of the past eight years, that history has been of a game that puts on a compelling matchup and gives teams one of the best bowl trips they can get outside of the BCS. With Russell Athletic on board and Florida Citrus Bowl renovations slowly coming together, we're confident that trend will continue.