Creating awareness of the impact that college bowl games have on their communities and with different charities is on the agenda for the Football Bowl Association.
College bowl season will wrap up January 8 with the National Championship Game between Georgia and Alabama, but the work that happens behind the scenes for the 40-some bowl games keeps going. To highlight some of that work, the Football Bowl Association has been using #BiggerThanTheGame—and will consider whether to further develop the slogan for the coming year.
“There’s a certain percentage of the public out there that probably turns on the TV, sees a bowl game, and says ‘Oh, two teams playing a football game,’” said FBA Executive Director Wright Waters. “But they never see the amount of people and the amount of energy that these bowl organizations put into their local communities or somewhere else.
#BiggerThanTheGame sums up the notion that college football bowl games are much more than games; rather, the bowls bring tourism dollars to cities, and they raise money for causes, such as cancer research and education, according to Waters.
“That goes back to the very origin of most of these games,” Waters said. “They were created for a specific purpose: Most of which were at a time of year when people weren’t in the hotels—weren’t in the restaurants. It was about putting on an event and getting people to come to town and over the years, that’s grown.”
#BiggerThanTheGame developed organically and quickly expanded almost on its own, according to Waters. “I think the best marketing [happens] when these things develop and get legs on their own, and some smart administrator takes credit for it,” Waters said. “I wish I knew who to give it credit it to.”
In February, FBA will bring all of the stakeholders together for a meeting to discuss what worked well and what didn’t work well in the 2017-18 bowl season, as they make plans for next season. Deciding whether to further develop #BiggerThanTheGame as the 2018-19 bowl season’s slogan will likely be on the agenda, Waters said.
But Waters noted that it will be important to get buy-in from the entire membership.
“It has to be done in such a way that every one of the 40 bowls will embrace it and take it back to their community,” Waters said. “If only one bowl embraces it, then it’s just a clever slogan that works for them, but if all 40 will embrace it, then it becomes a national movement and [creates] a national awareness, so we have to make sure before we jump on board with something like that, that the membership will embrace it.”