January 05, 2009

Branding Bowl Games: Orange Bowl

The FedEx Orange Bowl, played on New Year’s Day, is the second oldest college bowl game. It was created in hopes of drawing tourists back to Miami after the 1926 hurricane and the 1929 stock market crash.

The name seems like an obvious choice, as Florida is the largest producer of oranges in the U.S., but it took almost a decade for the name we know to develop. The game was first played in 1926 as part of the “The Fiesta of the American Tropics”. A few years later, the Greater Miami Athletic Association organized the game under the name Palm Festival, with the slogan “Have a Green Christmas in Miami”. In 1935, the chairman of the Greater Miami Athletic Club and a local radio announcer came up with the name “Orange Bowl”. FedEx became the game’s sponsor 1989.

The success of the game led to the construction of the Orange Bowl Stadium as a WPA project. The stadium was originally named Burdine Stadium, after a local businessman who owned a department store. The game moved to Miami’s Dolphin Stadium in 1996.

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