Friday, December 16

Well, there went your respectability.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports this morning that the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is dropping the "Peach" name starting next year, meaning it will simply be called the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Meaning that a once-respectable, tradition-rich game has now leaped into the Meineke Car Care Bowl/Carquest Bowl/MPC Computers Bowl pantheon of stupidly named bowls that, at least outwardly, exist as nothing more than an excuse for more corporate whoring.

Reading the quotes from both the Chick-fil-A people and the bowl people as to why they're electing to wipe their asses with 38 years of tradition and flush it down the commode, I still don't get it:

"This is a great deal for us," said Steve Robinson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A. "Our goal when we came on board nine years ago was to build our brand both regionally and nationally and to help the bowl grow into one of the premier events in the country. We feel this deal is a big step in that direction."


How is it a "big step" in that direction, exactly? Was the word "Peach" hogging too much of the limelight? Were the Chick-fil-A people silently watching in despair as droves of football fans chose to eat nothing but peaches for lunch rather than Chick-fil-A's delicious chicken sandwiches? OK, so maybe the general public's insistence on calling it just the Peach Bowl, as opposed to Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, is a marketing roadblock for Chick-fil-A. But if people feel stupid using the full official name in casual conversation, shouldn't that tell Chick-fil-A something? In the end this name change is going to have only two outcomes -- most people will continue to refer to it as "the Peach Bowl," and those who do not will call it "the Chick-fil-A Bowl" but roll their eyes and make the jerk-off gesture with their hands as they do so.

"To get our bowl into this position has been our goal since we started these talks with Chick-fil-A," said Gary Stokan, the bowl's president. "Yes, we say goodbye to 38 years of tradition with the Peach Bowl. But we believe ? and our board of directors agreed ? that there are going to be opportunities out there for us in the future, and this puts us in good position to take advantage of those opportunities."


As far as I can ascertain, Stokan believes that having a stupid name will put the bowl in prime position to move up in the SEC pecking order. "Chick-fil-A Bowl" really isn't any more embarrassing than "Outback Bowl," I guess. But still. If I was NCAA President Myles Brand, I would pass a bylaw declaring that any Division I-A bowl game with a title sponsor would also have to have the name of some American staple product or cash crop in the name, if only to keep venerable institutions like the Orange Bowl from becoming the FedEx Bowl or something like that. In other words, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, yes; Chick-fil-A Bowl, no. Meineke Magnolia Bowl, yes; Meineke Car Care Bowl, no. I mean, someone's gotta put a finger in the dike and prevent college football from being completely swallowed up by mega-corporations, to the point where players' uniforms are covered up with corporate logos like frigging NASCAR cars and announcers holler things like, "Wow, that was an incredible Tide with Bleach quarterback sack by Quentin Moses, and big ups to Paul Oliver for his heads-up Budweiser Select fumble recovery!"

I mean, I have some great Peach Bowl memories from my time as a Georgia student -- beanie-baby cows raining from the Georgia Dome's third deck as the Dawgs came back from a 21-0 deficit against Virginia in '98, for starters -- and now that's all tainted. Why, Chick-fil-A? Is it not enough that you toy with us by refusing to open on Sundays? Why?

7 comments:

duff said...

So What's next, the Sun Bowl will become the Wells Fargo Bowl? The Alamo Bowl will become the MasterCard Bowl? And God forbid, the Rose Bowl will be the Citi Bowl?

While I understand the need for corporate sponsorship to allow the Bowl games to happen, certain things should be avoided. For one, sponsorships can change, and with the sponsorship goes the name. The heritage of the bowl game in question goes out the window, and no-one knows what bowl game they're talking about any more!

Keeping the name of the bowl intact should be a requirement of corporate sponsorship.

Anonymous said...

Doug, I was hoping to see you give us some explanation about why Dubya is not being arrested for signing the order to illegally spy on US citizens, in full face of legal restrictions on what he just authorized. Why don't we see him being hauled off in cuffs and with a coat hiding his face?

I'm a Realist said...

The Rose Bowl is waaaay too pretentious to become even the Citi Bowl. It's inconceivable.

Brian said...

One man's pretention is a another man's "unwillingness to become a corporate whore," I guess.

Kyle King said...

Duff, the Sun Bowl was already way ahead of the curve on this one.

For a while, it was the John Hancock Sun Bowl, but, somewhere in the vicinity of the mid- to late '80s, they switched to "the John Hancock Bowl."

Although this was, of course, the name of the corporate sponsor (an insurance company), the fact that it was also the name of a Founding Father was expected to give the suits in marketing a certain amount of cover. After all, if we can have a Liberty Bowl, then surely we can have a John Hancock Bowl, since he signed his name with such flourish at the bottom of the Declaration of Poulan Weed Eater Independence.

The idea fizzled, the Sun Bowl's traditional nomenclature was restored, and the corporate sponsor of the game changed. One can only hope that a similar backlash will cause the folks at Chick-fil-A to rethink this strategy, which, as Doug says, cheapens what has become the premiere pre-New Year's Day bowl game.

An Outback Bowl bid feels less legitimate than a Hall of Fame Bowl bid. A Capital One Bowl bid feels less legitimate than a Citrus Bowl bid. A Chick-fil-A Bowl bid likewise carries less prestige than a Peach Bowl bid . . . and I say that as someone whose daily drive to and from the office carries him through the intersection of Highway 19-41 and S. Truett Cathy Highway.

J said...

I don't think I'd mind this quite as bad if

a) Their drivethru would provide bags big enough to actually roll/fold down and close at the top, and

b) STAY OPENED ON SUNDAYS GODDAMNIT! Honestly....

duff said...

kyle king thanks for the history lesson - I just listed the first few bowls with sponsors that google turned up :o)