Posted by Abe Sauer on September 29, 2010 01:00 PM
The grand dame of college football bowl games has finally joined its peers and sold its name to a corporate sponsor. The lucky brand to land the heretofore unnamed, 121-year-old Rose Bowl Parade? Honda.
Starting in 2011, the event will officially be known as "The 122nd Rose Parade, Presented by Honda." The event president insists, "it's not like we've sold the name." So is Honda getting ripped off? Will the parade damage the integrity of its brand?
Nobody is revealing how much Honda is paying to attach its name to next year's event (tagline: "Building Dreams, Friendships & Memories").
Honda reps admit that the deal is not expected to be a direct sales generator, and that's OK. "It's a way of saying 'Happy New Year' and bringing joy to the community...and we've been partners for such a long time it felt like a natural progression," said a Honda spokesman.
One advantage helping Honda's sponsorship be a smooth one is that the brand has an incredibly deep history with the event going back a half century. Honda floats have been award winners several times and the brand has invested heavily to make a big showing for decades. Honda has been the official vehicle of the Tournament of Roses since 1994. The sponsorship is much more germane than, say, one from Intel. Also, parade organizers stress over and over that the sponsorship is taking second place in the event name, preserving the integrity of the brand.
Naturally, a few detractors still see Honda's involvement as damaging to the Rose Bowl brand. One local Pasadena organizer said, "To me, it's a step toward homogenizing things, and I don't think it's necessarily good for the community... It ceases to be about the place and more about the funder."