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Tuesday December 9, 2008

Sports Business Journal has the lowdown on this year’s crop of bowl gifts (h/t The Wiz). There’s good stuff to be had even at some of the minor bowls. That hasn’t always been the case. I remember talking with some players at the 2001 Music City Bowl who were green with envy after comparing notes with friends who were going to New Year’s Day bowls.

The NCAA limits bowl gifts to $500, and it looks as if Georgia players will be getting most of their swag in the form of a $400 Best Buy shopping spree. Their Citrus Capital One Bowl gift package will also include a commemorative watch and probably smaller items like t-shirts.

Florida Citrus Sports, who organizes the Champs Sports and Capital One bowls in Orlando, have pioneered the shopping spree program that lets the players choose their own gifts rather than accept the predetermined gifts. Players in the two Orlando bowls will be taken to a local Best Buy for a party and must spend their $400 allotment there. The BCS championship game will use a similar program where participants can select $300 of Sony merchandise from a showcase at the team hotel.

Interesting tidbit – the NCAA limits only provide for gifts for 125 people. "I don’t even need to know how many people will be coming through the doors," (promotions company rep Jon) Cooperstein said. "The NCAA allows each bowl to award up to $500 worth of gifts to 125 participants per school. Schools always bring more than that and pay for it on their dime. We’ll make up 500 folios and order forms for each school."

If the Dawgs run up another large tab this bowl season, you’ll probably find a nice chunk of it at a local Orlando Best Buy.

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