ESPN is in serious negotiations with Hershey’s for the chocolate giant’s Reese’s brand to become the title sponsor of the Orange Bowl college football game, according to a report in today’s SportsBusiness Journal.
After 21 years, FedEx has bowed out as title sponsor of the BCS game played at Sun Life Stadium. FedEx had the longest reign as sponsor of a BCS game, but the company said it wanted to focus on its other sports marketing properties, including partnerships with the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup, the NFL, NBA and NASCAR’s Joe Gibbs Racing.
The SportsBusiness Journal report says ESPN is negotiating with Hershey’s on a four-year deal worth less than $20 million a year. ESPN will begin broadcasting BCS games, including the national championship, next year under a four-year contract that runs through 2014.
Hershey’s declined to comment.
"We believe the Orange Bowl is a premier property and a tremendous marketing opportunity. We are in active discussions with advertisers,” ESPN spokeswoman Amy Phillips said in a statement.
The Orange Bowl Committee, which hosts the game, isn’t negotiating the sponsorship deal, but is aware of the discussions.
“We are in regular discussions with ESPN regarding the title sponsorship of the Orange Bowl,” Orange Bowl Committee CEO Eric Poms said in a statement. “There are active conversations in the marketplace around the title sponsorship of the Orange Bowl.”
The Orange Bowl next hosts the national championship game in 2013.