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How much do companies pay to sponsor College Football Bowl games?

Though it’s often a debatable point, there’s clearly a value in sponsoring major sporting events and the world of college football bowl games is no different.

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 30: The Georgia Bulldogs take the field before the Capital One Orange Bowl against the Florida State Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium on December 30, 2023 in Miami Gardens, Florida.   Megan Briggs/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Megan Briggs / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

College football is coming to its climax and like any other major sporting event, there’s definitely a stage for major companies to showcase their brands and products via advertisements or sponsorship, but how much does it cost? Let’s find out.

The wacky world of Bowl game sponsorship

If you’re even casually familiar with the game of American football, then you’ve probably heard of the Super Bowl and more over its now world-famous advertisements and halftime show. Well, College football is no different, though perhaps the price tag is a little lower. With that said, don’t let the fact that brands like “Bad Boy Mowers” or “Cheribundi Tart Cherry” are sponsoring bowl games fool you, it’s not cheap at all. Indeed, while they may not compare to NFL’s biggest game, sponsoring a bowl game definitely doesn’t cost pocket change.

What does is it cost to sponsor a bowl game?

If you’re looking to get your name up in lights during a major bowl game, you’re going to have to pay a little more than a lot. That’s to say, the lowest cost you can hope to pay for sponsorship rights is approximately $500,000. While that’s not a concrete number, if we use the example of the Birmingham Bowl which was compensated with that amount by the city due to a lack of sponsorship, then we can more or less assume that’s a good reference point in terms of the basic expectation. It’s worth noting, however, that $500K won’t be enough to get you the naming rights for a New Year’s Six game. Consider for a moment, that Capital One paid a reported $25 million to sponsor the Orange Bowl back in 2017. It goes without saying, that figure has increased since then.

What does a company get when it pays to sponsor a bowl game?

First and foremost, you’ve got the payouts that go to participating (or winning teams) in the bowl game in question, but then there are a whole host of additional expenses built into the cost of sponsoring a bowl game. They include, but are not limited to the following:

  • TV & digital advertising placements
  • Signage (on the fields, in the streets, etc.) related to the bowl game/sponsor brand(s)
  • Team/school accommodations e.g. travel, hotel, travel stipends, etc. may in fact be paid using sponsorship funds
  • Licenses & permits required to place signage, advertisements, as well as acting as a vendor at the actual game.

Ultimately, the large majority of companies which sponsor bowl games are private. What that means, is that arriving at a firm figure where amounts paid are concerned can be difficult. What’s assured, is that any company hoping to showcase their product or service, is likely to start at a price of at least half a million dollars, but may even pay in excess of $30 million depending on the importance of the bowl game in question.