It’s an exciting (and hectic) day at Florida Citrus Sports as we finally flip the switch on the Russell Athletic Bowl. This process has been bubbling for a couple of months now but it’s just like bowl week: no amount of late nights and early mornings can avoid the pandemonium of game day (or in this case, launch day). It’s straight downhill today; forget the breaks and just worry about steering.
Bringing Russell Athletic on board is great news for the bowl game. They’re an enthusiastic partner with a brand that already has a presence in the sports world (and even in college athletics as the uniform provider for a handful of schools including Georgia Tech). They are excited to get involved with the game and we’re ecstatic to have them.
Champs Sports was a tremendous title partner with us. It became title sponsor in 2004 and helped us grow a small, pre-Christmas game into a compelling, competitive matchup. That growth culminated in last year’s sellout crowd of 68,305 for Florida State vs. Notre Dame, the biggest and best game in bowl history and (in retrospect) a fitting epilogue for a departing sponsor. We commissioned a panoramic print to commemorate that historic game and a very successful partnership (pictured above)
A while ago, Champs Sports indicated its marketing initiatives were changing and we both agreed that it was in the bowl’s best long-term interest to find a new title partner. It wasn’t a reflection of our relationship or the value of such a sponsorship; a change in direction for its branding and marketing meant that youth sports were taking priority over the college market. With Champs Sports’ blessing, we set out to find a new sponsor that could step in immediately. After several discussions with Russell Athletic (a company that we previously worked with via the Florida Blue Florida Classic), the sports apparel company signed a four-year agreement that extends through 2015.
It’s a natural fit for us (no pun intended). Every day for the past four or five years, I’ve finished work by running the steps of the Florida Citrus Bowl in a leftover FCSports t-shirt and a pair of Russell Athletic shorts.
Like us, Russell Athletic is committed to building on the success of the former-Champs Sports Bowl through the end of this current cycle and beyond. With two and-a-half months left until the start of the 2012 season, this announcement has sparked a lot of excitement in our office.