by Joe Wilhelm Jr.
Known for “name your price” auto insurance and its helpful sales clerk Flo, Progressive will also be known now as the title sponsor for the Gator Bowl.
The Gator Bowl Association announced the agreement on its website Tuesday night, checking off one of the few remaining boxes on its New Year’s Day wish list.
The association had been searching for a new title sponsor since a three-year deal with Konica Minolta ended this year.
“Progressive is one of the best-known brands in the country,” said Steve Tremel, chair of the Gator Bowl Association and chief finance officer of Vistakon, in a statement on the website.
“Our association with them furthers our standing as one of the premier bowl games in the nation,” he said.
The Gator Bowl Association announced Dec. 5 that the game will feature the Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. the University of Michigan Wolverines at 1:30 p.m. New Year’s Day at EverBank Field. It will be televised on ESPN2.
The teams were chosen as part of a four-year agreement that features teams from the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten Conference.
“The Gator Bowl is a fan favorite. And, this year is all about settling the SEC and Big Ten Conference superiority contest. We’re glad to be a part of it and proud to sponsor the game,” said Jeff Charney, chief marketing officer for Progressive, in the statement.
Though new to the Gator Bowl, Progressive has other sponsorships, including Progressive Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians and the Progressive Automotive XPrize, a contest to develop the most fuel efficient vehicles.
Progressive will join a list of 94 sponsors, including employees of W.W. Gay as presenting sponsor, ESPN2 as television sponsor and a list of 92 business that offer both a nationwide brand such as Coca-Cola and local brands including Bono’s Pit Bar-B-Q and The Jacksonville Bank.
The Gator Bowl Association had been preparing to host the game without a title sponsor with just over two weeks remaining before the New Year’s Day game.
The association reported that it had enough reserves to cover the absence of a title sponsor.
Last year’s sponsor finished with a bang. The final game for Florida State University Head Coach Bobby Bowden drew the largest crowd in the 65-year history of the game with 84,129 fans attending.
The audience was treated to a competitive game that ended with Bowden’s Seminoles taking home the 33-21 victory over a team he once coached, the West Virginia Mountaineers.