Promotional Products and Gifting Trends From NCAA Football Bowl Game Gift Suites
It's the most wonderful time of the year for people who like gifts.
That's right, it's college football bowl game time, baby, and the gift suites are looking as extravagant as ever.
This was a big year in college sports, with changes to name, image and likeness (NIL) rules making it possible for players to capitalize on their own popularity for the first time ever.
But bowl game swag is a time-honored tradition, where student-athletes get to leave with impressive hauls whether they win the game or not.
Thanks to 247 Sports, we got a good look at what each bowl game has to offer, and noticed a few trends and noteworthy gifts.
1. Watches and bags are as popular as ever
It's important to remember that these are still college students. Because of that, they need a good backpack and maybe a watch to make sure they're getting to class (and practice) on time.
A few brands popped up in different gift suites. Most notably was Fossil, which contributed watches to 11 games. As far as backpacks, the most popular brands were Ogio, Lululemon and Nike.
Backpacks showed up on 14 gift suites.
2. Water bottles can be trendy pieces
It's funny how water bottles can become some of the most popular items on social media. For college football players, having a product created and endorsed by the Gronkowski family, most notably dominant tight end Rob, is a good enough reason to choose a product. Ice Shaker bottles were included in the gift suites for the Tailgreeter Cure bowl, Bahamas Bowl, Myrtle Beach Bowl, Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl, TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl, Guaranteed Rate Bowl and the Valero Alamo Bowl.
3. College kids love music
Once the game is over, the players will return to campus. We're not sure if you know anything about college campuses, but they're sometimes known to play host to parties. And what's a party without music?
Bluetooth Speakers showed up on the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl presented by Stifel, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl and the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.
4. Customize, customize, customize
The high perceived value of name-brand electronics and high-end apparel is certainly appealing. But, it's important to remember that appearing in a bowl game is overall a high point for many of these players that they'll want to commemorate.
Commemorative items like footballs, baseballs and coins are included in 11 bowl game gift suites.
Players will receive some customized products, too, like a custom suit jacket in the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl, and custom Action Face figurines in the Armed Forces Bowl and First Responder Bowl.
5. There's room for print, too
We talk a lot about the convergence of print and promotional products, and the bowl game gift suites are a good example of incorporating products like stickers and other printed products.
Players in the Quick Lane Bowl will receive PhotoSlap life-sized photo stickers.
6. Play into local charm
With each game having its own identity, the promotional products should incorporate that theme as much as possible. The best example is the Justin cowboy hat that players in the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl will receive.
There are plenty more products that athletes will receive. If you want to check out the full list on 247 Sports, click here.