Humanitarian Bowl now 'Famous Idaho Potato Bowl'

Humanitarian Bowl now 'Famous Idaho Potato Bowl' »Play Video
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Executive Director Kevin McDonald speaks to media about the game's name change after 14 years of being the Humanitarian Bowl. August 3, 2011.
BOISE, Idaho - The college football bowl game played every December (except January 3, 2003) in Bronco Stadium since 1997 has a new name; the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Bowl Executive Director Kevin McDonald made the announcement Wednesday afternoon in the Boise State Athletic Hall of Fame alongside Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir.

"It is certainly not new to name a bowl after an agricultural product," McDonald told media Wednesday. Most of college football's major bowl games were or still are named for area-agricultural items like the Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls.

"In my own mind, I'm thinking; why isn't that the potato bowl and why hasn't it been the potato bowl for the last 100 years," quipped Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir.

Bowl sales staff called the Idaho Potato Commission for the first time ever this year to pitch a low-level bowl sponsorship. McDonald said the conversation progressed to a full title sponsorship in about 15 minutes.

"It became a no-brainer," Muir said - adding he's purchased national advertising spots during Boise State bowl appearances dating back to the 2005 Liberty Bowl, including two spots during the Maaco Las Vegas bowl last December.

The Idaho Potato Commission's nine commissioners, representing the state's potato growers, shippers and distributors that fund the IPC, all voted in favor of the deal, which covers six bowl games between 2011 and 2016. The next three pit the WAC against the MAC and will be broadcast on ESPN.

The name changes eliminates the final three years on a four-year title sponsorship deal signed with uDrove in 2010. McDonald said an 'out' in the contract was exercised to make the Potato Commission sponsorship work. uDrove signed a lower bowl sponsorship agreement for the next three years.

McDonald said, despite the new name, the bowl will not change its efforts to recognize student athletes humanitarian contributions. The World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame, which is attached to Bronco Stadium, never had an official sponsorship deal with the Humanitarian Bowl - that was just the name of the bowl game.

"Because there was no association, when this opportunity came up with the Potato Commission, [the bowl board] really felt we were ready to make a change," McDonald said.

The 2010 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is December 17 at 3:30 p.m. MST. For the second straight year, the only cold-weather bowl game in college football is the first game of the post-season.