The first of its kind, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl has been the premier high school football all-star game in the nation. And while the title sponsor for the elite event may be in some doubt, the game itself doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and the same can be said for the New Jersey company behind it.
Last week, the United States Army announced that next January will be the eighteenth and final incarnation of the game under their title sponsorship. While it remains to be seen if the Army will eventually return as the game’s primary sponsor, especially with a presidential administration that has vowed a greater emphasis on the armed services and providing resources for the military, the game still has strong roots that should see it continue.
In fact, the bowl game’s contract with the city of San Antonio, - where the game is played at the Alamo Dome - as well as with NBC for television coverage – each extends for the next several years. So while the history of the game has been dominated by the sponsorship of the Army, the game appears to be ready for a new era that might not include camouflage.
And there likely won’t be a shortage of national companies interested in sponsoring a high-profile event with a storied history.
“The All-American Bowl is the premier high school sporting event in the country. The Army is the title sponsor for the 2018 All-American Bowl and we began working on that on the day after this year’s bowl game,” Doug Berman, Chairman and CEO of All American Games told Metro. “In light of the Secretary of the Army’s announcement, we have now begun working on the title sponsorship for the 2019 All-American Bowl and beyond.”
It is a rich and long history for both the Army and the bowl game, which has now seen several imitation games spawned in recent years such as the Under Armour All-America Game and the Offense-Defense Bowl among others. But it is the U.S. Army All-American Bowl that has perhaps the longest and strongest of legacies.
Alumni from the game include some of the biggest stars to go on and play college and high school football including Patrick Peterson, Ndamukong Suh, Andrew Luck, Reggie Bush, Nick Mangold and Tim Tebow. All of this makes the game a very intriguing property for potential sponsors not only looking for a national platform on NBC but also to be linked with future NFL stars.
That the game drew 40,568 to the Alamo Dome a couple weeks ago, a bowl game record, underscores the mystique of the game. It also routinely gets solid television ratings on NBC as it is the lead-in programming to the network’s NFL playoffs for that weekend.
The north Jersey based company also worked with the Army to create a unique activation through the tour events at the high schools of the athletes and band members selected to the game. This gets Army messaging and influence into high schools nationally. Each student, whether a football player or in the U.S. Army All-American Band, gets s special ceremony marking their participation in the event.
“The All-American Bowl existed before the Army became the title sponsor and will continue into the future as the country’s premier high school sporting event celebrating everything that is great about ‘Friday Night Lights’,” Berman said.