April 24, 2013

Overland Park company defends College Football Playoff name

Laurie Bollig of Premier Sports Management braced for some shots after word spread on Tuesday about the name of the new college football four-team playoff to begin in 2015.

College Football Playoff.

Generic, simple, bland, she anticipated some of the reaction.

But Bollig found herself correcting some of the criticism.

Premier of Overland Park didn’t design the four logos for the online voting as some suggested, and the company didn’t, as one national columnist jabbed, collect what is “presumed to be a fat check.”

Bollig, Preimer’s communications director, didn’t disclose the fee, but the marketing and event management company has previously worked with Bill Hancock, director of the BCS and the College Football Playoff.

“We have a good working relationship,” Bollig said. “I felt like he trusted our work. He also knew we weren’t going to charge the same as a company in New York or Chicago.”

As for the title, the process went like this:

Premier worked with marketing directors from five conferences, including the Big Ten and Pac-12. The group studied the branding process not only of other major sports championships but entertainment awards. Suggestions were run through focus groups.

There was also a mandate from the commissioners.

“It couldn’t be the College Football Final Four, and we needed to get rid of the letters B, C and S,” Bollig said. “We talked about being simple and literal, and about going extreme, out of the box, a Super Bowl-ish type of name.”

The group recommended College Football Playoff. The title was taken to the commissioners in January and it could have been rejected. It wasn’t.

“At the end of the day, it’s what the commissioners wanted to say,” Bollig said.

Coaches don’t seem to mind.

“The name sounds pretty good,” Florida’s Will Muschamp said. “It’s a playoff and it’s college football.”

Alabama’s Nick Saban said, “everybody will relate to that. It will work out fine in time. People will get used to it.”

Perhaps the biggest advantage to the name is the ability to evolve.

Two of the iconic names in American sports’ championships _ the Super Bowl and Final Four _ didn’t have those names at the outset.

Plus, College Football Playoff, doesn’t come with a corporate sponsor and doesn’t carry an NCAA stamp.

“The name is probably underwhelming to some people,” Bollig said. “But we did what we set out to do, and I have no doubt that some clever media person will come up with a catchy name for it in the next couple of years.”

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