The title sponsors of the five canceled college football bowl games lost out on $13.7 million of television exposure when their games were called off, according to data calculated by Apex Marketing Group.
For the second straight year, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the bowl season, which ends Monday night when Alabama and Georgia play for the national championship. With a handful of teams unable to play due to outbreaks spurred by the Omicron variant, some bowls scrambled to find replacement teams, allowing for the games to continue and the all-important television broadcasts to air uninterrupted. Others were not so lucky.
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Companies pay big money to associate themselves with the college football postseason—title sponsorships to non-New Year’s bowls can range from high six figures to multiple millions—and television exposure is one of the main ways they recoup those investments. Viral mayonnaise baths or strange bowl names can generate valuable exposure for companies, especially when mid-week games routinely draw more than 1 million TV viewers.
For EasyPost (Hawaii Bowl), Barstool Sports (Arizona Bowl), Wasabi (Fenway Bowl), San Diego County Credit Union (Holiday Bowl) and Peraton (Military Bowl), the canceled bowls unraveled comprehensive plans. Some were still able to generate conversation through clever social media, but all are likely sorting through their contracts to figure out what costs can be recouped. Apex calculated that across the five games, the title sponsors each lost out on an average of $2.75 million.
To calculate the numbers, Apex looked at viewership trends from this year and 2019, the last pre-pandemic bowl season, to estimate an audience size. It also analyzed the location of bowl sponsor branding—jersey patches, graphics, sideline banners—to gauge the brand…