The college football bowl bonanza begins a week from today, and the SportsBusiness Journal took a look at how bowls are sharing the wealth in the gift packages provided to players.
A sampling of the best, the worst and oddest:
- At the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, players will walk away looking stylish with Beats by Dre headphones, an Oakley backpack and a Fossil watch.
- The Russell Athletic Sports and Capital One Bowls gives players the best gift – the gift of freedom in choosing electronics. Players score a $420 Best Buy gift card and a Timely/Fossil watch.
- The Valero Alamo Bowl gifts an Apple iPad mini, a Fossil watch, a $100 Best Buy gift card, a panoramic team photo and a Schutt mini helmet.
- The Chick-fil-A Bowl hands out a $300 gift card, a Fossil watch, a commemorative hat, a Russell Athletic travel bag and a Chick-fil-A gift card. The Outback Bowl also feeds the players, handing out a gift package of an Outback gift card, a $150 Best Buy gift card, a ring, a cap and a Fossil watch.
- Unfortunately for USC, an underwhelming season lands the Trojans at the Hyundai Sun Bowl with one of the worst gift packages. The Trojans will receive a Timely watch, a Majestic fleece, a Top of the World cap, a coin, and a Helen of Troy hairdryer. Nearly as unfortunately for the Trojans, they will be spending a week in El Paso.
- The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl gives out a Timely watch, a leather travel bag and a football. It is among an astonishing eight bowls that somehow thought that giving footballs to football players would be both novel and exciting.
- The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl is the grandmother of gift giving this bowl season, in that the gifts seem to have been purchased a decade ago and will likely all be two sizes too small. Players will get an Oakley backpack and a Fossil watch, but they will also wind up with an aloha shirt, a custom beach towel, shorts, a T-shirt, a performance T-shirt, a hat/visor and a calendar. It’s unspecified – but likely – that the calendar is from 1999.
The Oddest Combinations:
- The Gildan New Mexico Bowl gives what seems like a solid gift package that includes Oakley sunglasses, a gift suite, a Deuce watch and an Oakley beanie and backpack, yet it also gives student athletes a quill pen. Yes, a quill pen. Nevada and Arizona players will get a lot of use out of their new quill pens as they write in their bound leather notebooks by candlelight and calculate the value of their gift on an abacus.
- The Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl hands out a Fossil watch, a 32-inch flat-screen TV, a T-shirt, a backpack, a lapel pin and a belt buckle. It wouldn’t be Texas without the belt buckle.