AT&T wants out of Rose Bowl sponsorship pact

The Associated Press
Friday April 12, 2002

PASADENA — AT&T Corp. is not renewing its contract as presenting sponsor of the annual Rose Bowl game, company spokesman John Heath said Thursday. The decision leaves the nation’s oldest bowl game without a major corporate backer. 

AT&T’s four-year contract expired after the Jan. 3 Rose Bowl, which this year also was the Bowl Championship Series title match between Nebraska and Miami. 

ABC Sports owns the right to choose who sponsors the annual Rose Bowl. 

“The game is not until next New Year’s, so there’s no real urgency. There won’t be any problems,” Mark Mandel, vice president of ABC Sports media relations, said Thursday. 

The pullout leaves the Rose Bowl as the only game in the four-team Bowl Championship Series without a sponsor. The Fiesta Bowl is sponsored by Tostitos; the Orange Bowl is sponsored by Federal Express, and the Sugar Bowl is sponsored by Nokia. 

The BCS national title game alternates each year between the four bowls. 

The Tournament of Roses Association, which stages the game in Pasadena, does not participate in sponsor negotiations, but does have a final say in the sponsorship. 

Under the deal signed in 1998, ABC paid $19 million each year to the Tournament of Roses to broadcast the 1999, 2000 and 2001 Rose Bowl games, and $20.5 million to broadcast the 2002 game.