Sports

Report: Capital One to take over as Orange Bowl sponsor

The Orange Bowl Classic football game is close to having a new name.

According to a report in the SportsBusiness Journal, Discover has told ESPN it is ending its sponsorship of the Orange Bowl game after four years.

The report said Capital One — which has sponsored the New Year’s Day game at Orlando’s Citrus Bowl since 2003 — would take over title sponsorship. The Orange Bowl is played annually in Miami Gardens at Sun Life Stadium.

Tostitos, which has sponsored the Fiesta Bowl since 1996, has also backed out as sponsorship fees for the ESPN-controlled bowls continue to rise.

Orange Bowl spokesman Larry Wahl said Monday afternoon that the bowl officials had no comment on the report.

The Orange Bowl got its first sponsor in 1989 when Federal Express came in while the game was still contested at its namesake stadium in Miami.

The University of Miami beating Nebraska 23-3 that year.

When the game moved north to the Dolphins’ stadium, it brought the FedEx sponsorship with it.

The Orange Bowl was renamed the Discover Orange Bowl in time for the 2011 game (Stanford beat Virginia Tech), ending a 21-year run with FedEx.

With Capital One moving its sponsorship south, that leaves the Orlando bowl without a sponsor. ESPN is reportedly in search of a sponsor for that game, as well as the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona.

The Orange, Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Peach and Cotton bowls are all part of the new college football playoff system with each bowl game guaranteed semifinal games over the course of the next 12 years.

ESPN, according to the report, is looking to secure sponsorship rights in the neighborhood of $25 million annually for each of the six bowls.

The playoff begins this season with the semifinals at the Rose and Sugar bowls, and the championship game being held at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The Orange Bowl gets its first semifinal game on Dec. 31, 2015, and again in 2018, 2021 and 2024.

The championship game sites are bid separately from the bowl setup, with Glendale, Arizona — home of the Fiesta Bowl — hosting in 2016 and Tampa in 2017.

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