A couple of months ago, according to Adweek, the common thought was that the BCS National Championship game by itself could fetch $35 million from a main sponsor. That's roughly twice what BCS bowls get, which makes sense; those sponsors only get rights to the title game once every four years, when their bowls host the game in the current rotation.
But what those bowls also get is title rights, so we get things like the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game and Brent Musburger saying a game-winning kick is "for all the Tostitos" (to be fair, Musburger ad-libbed that; it wasn't a stipulation of the sponsorship). Those constant reminders that there are benevolent sponsors who make all this happen is, frankly, overwhelming.
Fortunately, the NCAA is making the rare step away from corporate creep as BCS president Bill Hancock told ESPN.com that there would not be a title sponsor for the new BCS playoffs:
"It won't be 'The Vizio Championship Tournament,'" Hancock said, using the Rose Bowl title sponsor as an example. "The Final Four doesn't have one. The Masters doesn't. The Super Bowl. That's the kind of event we have."
The group has narrowed the candidates for the name to a "small number," Hancock said. It will be simple, straightforward and, as he described it, "not cutesy."
Of course, we are still talking about a playoff that's closely aligned with the bowl system, and those bowls still have their own sponsors. So don't think for a second that the semifinals are losing their corporate titles; that'll still continue.
But semantics aside, at the very least we're going to be spared however many hundreds of instances of athletic directors, commissioners and sports media people saying things like "the BCS playoffs sponsored by Chico's Bail Bonds," or whoever would have ponied up the winning bid for sponsorship. That's nice. It's refreshing.
But let's be clear: College football is still big business, and that title game will still be heavily, heavily sponsored. It's much less likely that the BCS can finagle $35 million out of a main sponsor without naming rights attached, but it's not as if the BCS will collect zero dollars instead. There will be sponsors and there will be advertisements. Lots of 'em. That aspect is most certainly not going away.
Furthermore, let's not forget that whether the game fetches a hundred dollars or a billion, the participants in this contest are not going to be seeing any of that money. It's a testament to the deal-making ability of all the higher-ups involved that so much money is going to be in play here, but at the end of the day, it''s on the backs of people who are literally not allowed to partake in any of that profit whatsoever.
So while we appreciate the BCS's decision to not hammer its viewers over the head with a title sponsor, let's not act as if this is part of an overarching commitment to keeping big money away from the sport. It's been a long time since that was ever the case. This is just one good decision made in the name of brevity.
With that, this ends my run with the Big Ten Blog, as my one-year contract is expiring. Please continue to read Bleacher Report and its team of lead writers, which continues to be the most talented group of writers I've ever been a part of. Thank you for reading, and I'll see you around.
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