‘Tis the season for receiving if you are one of the over 7,000 college football players participating or making trips to bowl games in December and January. As if a trip to a warmer climate and a chance to play one more football game at the collegiate level isn’t enough, NCAA rules say 125 players per team can receive up to $550 in bowl gifts each. That is in addition to gifts each university and the conference can give to players.
Each year, the Sports Business Journal does all the hard work and compiles a thorough list of what each bowl is giving to players. For the last eight years, electronics and gadgets made up a large part of the rundown, but now gift suites, where players get to pick various gadgets and items are becoming more and more popular. Some bowls are giving away gift cards that can be used during the bowl week at designated shopping sprees. Those always prove to be a hot with players as they can usually take care of some of their holiday shopping needs. Let’s take a look at what some of the bowls are offering in 2015.
The first bowl game on the docket this year is the AutoNation Cure Bowl presented by Florida Hospital, held at noon on December 19. This may be one of the lowest rated gift packages when it comes to tech as players get a Nike pullover, a cap and a watch.
Games like the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl and R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl take things up a notch by offering gift suites along with traditional bowl gift items like backpacks, sunglasses and Fossil watches. A wireless Bluetooth speaker is being given to players at the Miami Beach Bowl and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is giving a gift suite along with a Coleman two-person tent. The GoDaddy Bowl is stepping up a little this year giving a Sol Republic Punk speakers; 32-quart Lit cooler and a Wilson official souvenir game ball to participants.
Once again, the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman is going to be a hit with football players that are games as their big gift is a Microsoft Xbox One with Kinect bundle. No free oil changes at the Quick Lane Bowl this year, they are gifting JBL headphones, a custom-made, life-sized decal for each player among other items. Lucky players in this year’s Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl will get sized and fit for some Cowtown custom-made cowboy boots.
The Belk Bowl is once again offering a shopping trip to a Belk department store that will be closed to the general public, so the players can shop without distractions. Some might think some of the bigger bowl games are a little boring with their player gifts, but in the mix you will find assorted Bluetooth speakers, Ogio backpacks, Oculus Pro Team HD binoculars from the AutoZone Libery Bowl and Beats Studio Wireless headphones from the Valero Alamo Bowl.
The TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville is featuring a Panasonic gift suite this year and those making the College Football Playoff National Championship Game are promised and “iconic gift.” Usually there is no more “iconic gift” than the hair dryer given away to players at the Sun Bowl, but I don’t see that on the list this year. Too bad for players, but the players in El Paso will just have to suck it up by picking items at a gift suite, while also getting a watch, backpack and Majestic Pro Base Pullover. Let the games, or should I say gifting begin at all the bowl games this December and also in January.