Vizio to be new Rose Bowl sponsor

LOS ANGELES -- Vizio Inc. will be the new presenting sponsor of the Rose Bowl from 2011 to 2014, when the college football game celebrates its 100th anniversary.

The four-year deal includes sponsorship of the BCS National Championship Game in 2014, which will be played at the newly renovated historic stadium in Pasadena. Financial terms were not disclosed. The official announcement will be made Wednesday.

The sponsorship switch comes as ESPN takes over coverage rights of the BCS series from Fox Sports. All title sponsorships were up for renewal as a result, and Citi declined to continue its Rose Bowl sponsorship. The Rose Bowl on New Year's Day had been televised by ABC for several years.

The game will be known as the Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio and the 2014 game will be named the 2014 Vizio BCS National Championship Game.

"The Rose Bowl game by itself is an incredible pull," said Randy Waynick, Vizio's chief sales officer. "The fact that it's going to be the BCS game is icing on the cake."

Earlier this month, the Tournament of Roses announced a three-year deal with Honda to be presenting sponsor of the Rose Bowl parade, which has never had such a tie-in.

Vizio, an HDTV and consumer electronics company based in Irvine, partnered with ESPN and the Tournament of Roses on the Rose Bowl game deal.

"The economy made this one more challenging than past deals," said P. Scott McKibben, executive director of the Tournament of Roses. "It took a bit longer in the negotiation for all parties concerned."

Ed Erhardt, president of customer marketing and sales for ESPN, noted sponsorships of live sporting events are holding up well despite the sputtering economy.

"The strength and passion around college football is pretty undeniable," he said. "It's live in a world where the consumer has the ability to tune out so much of the advertising."

Vizio and ESPN have worked together since 2006. The electronics company is the HD sponsor of "SportsCenter" and the network's college football telecasts and will continue to do so as part of the deal.

A new game mark will be incorporated into Rose Bowl game and BCS-related materials. Vizio will have logo rights for product packaging and all Rose Bowl-related events.

The Rose Bowl sponsorship will provide Vizio with a bigger platform to promote its electronic products during the holiday shopping season.

"Forty percent of the business for the TV market is going to happen in the next couple months," Waynick said. "This is a great opportunity to bring the message to the consumers."

The Rose Bowl, which pits the champions of the Pac-10 and Big Ten, is the oldest bowl game in college football.