Texas Business reports: ESPN Regional Television (ERT), Inc., a subsidiary of ESPN, and Meineke Car Care Centers announce a three year title sponsorship deal of the Texas Bowl, beginning for the 2011 event.
The Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas will be played in December on an ESPN network at Reliant Stadium in Houston – home to the NFL’s Houston Texans.
The annual game will match up the Big 12 versus the Big Ten. In 2010, Illinois beat Baylor 38-14 on Dec. 29 at Reliant Stadium, and with 68,211 fans had its second-highest attended game in bowl history.
“We are proud to have a company which began in Houston return and become the title sponsor of the new Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas,” said ESPN senior director of events Clint Overby in a prepared statement. “The strong brand presence of Meineke combined with the football history in Texas makes this a natural partnership.”
Meineke was established 39 years ago by Sam Meineke of Houston. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Meineke Car Care Centers now has 950 locally owned and operated franchised service centers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and China.
“For the past six years the Meineke brand has benefitted tremendously from its sponsorship of a college football bowl and we are delighted to continue this tradition by returning to our roots in Houston, Texas,” said Meineke chief executive Ken Walker in a statement. “It excites our franchisees and it heightens Meineke’s awareness among the passionate and loyal fans of college football across the country.”
The event, which is owned and operated by ERT, is managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment.
“Securing a title sponsorship with Meineke Car Care is a testament to how far the bowl has come in 5 short years,” said Texas Bowl executive director Heather Houston. “With a powerful brand like Meineke behind the game, the bowl will continue to make big strides in the collegiate bowl world and will help ensure the long-term viability for the bowl game for Houston.”
The nation’s largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television (ERT) annually produces more than 1,000 telecasts of sporting events. Programming includes football, basketball, NCAA events, golf and NHRA events accounting for more than 2,200 live and/or original hours of programming. In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network; syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences.
ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several sporting events, including collegiate football events: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg; Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Texas); BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.); MAACO Bowl Las Vegas; New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (Houston); MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.) and The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards. Collegiate basketball events: 76 Classic (Anaheim, Calif.); Champion’s Classic (Madison Square Garden; debuts 2011); Charleston Classic (S.C.); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Old Spice Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan); All-College Basketball Classic (Oklahoma City), Sears BracketBusters. In addition to the ESPNU Warrior Classic (Lacrosse), the Hawaiian Islands Invitational (Soccer) and the ESPN National Golf Challenge.
The Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas has generated an average of $25 million per year for the Houston economy and has over 25,000 season ticket holders. The game has averaged over 62,000 fans in its five-year history, including a crowd of 68,211 for last year’s game between Baylor and Illinois.
Lone Star Sports & Entertainment (LSSE) is an independent event management company which is closely affiliated with the NFL’s Houston Texans. Since being founded in 2003, LSSE has established itself as the leading sports event promoter in Houston. In addition to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, LSSE has emerged as a promoter for international soccer matches, including the 2010 MLS All-Star Game featuring Manchester United, the 2006 FC Barcelona U.S. tour, 2003 and 2008 matches between the United States and Mexico, and the 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cups. LSSE has also reinvigorated the “Battle of the Piney Woods” rivalry between Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State and has promoted a pair of major concerts featuring country superstars George Strait and Kenny Chesney.