Leading up to the game, billboards were placed strategically in the markets of the relevant teams, he adds.
The restaurant chain also put in its own advertising efforts leading up to the game, Elliott says, by promoting through local commercials and direct-mail communications. "In the local community and across all 210 locations we try to get the word out" with watch parties, coupons and specials, he says.
Companies have to weigh the options of the sponsorship in terms of who is watching the game, how many viewers the event might reach and when and where the event takes place.
A Bowl Championship Series game is "going to have a different audience that's bigger versus a game that takes place earlier in the bowl season," says Eric Wright, president and executive director of research for
Joyce Julius & Associates
. And that means paying attention to such things as attendance and the size of the alumni classes coming to watch the game and the temporary economic impact to the city hosting the game, he says.
"Where the bowl games really work nicely for a corporate brand is the ability to have events leading up to the event itself that generate good buzz and a way to elongate your sponsorship window with positive messaging that you can control," Wright adds.
Exact figures for food and beverage sales raised directly from the bowl sponsorship is harder to pin down. Elliott says it depends on which teams play in the game and if Beef 'O' Brady's has locations in the corresponding cities, but when they do have locations in team cities sales are noticeably higher the night of a game.
Franchise leads have also been positive. Beef 'O' Brady's opened its first store in Idaho last year as a direct result of a viewer watching the game. The company also has stores under construction in Arizona and California -- states it never had a presence in until the bowl game sponsorship.
"For us it was a way to get really engaged in the community," Elliott says, but it's also "the one time of the year that every franchisee in our system can benefit from national and even international exposure that the brand gets as being title sponsor."
-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.
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