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Snoop Dogg will lend his name to Arizona Bowl in Tucson

Snoop Dogg is putting his name on the Arizona Bowl for what will be the first partnership between an alcohol brand and a college bowl game, the rapper and media personality announced Monday.

The “Snoop Dogg Arizona Bowl Presented by Gin & Juice By Dre and Snoop” is scheduled for Dec. 28 at Arizona Stadium on University of Arizona's campus in Tucson and will match teams from the Mountain West Conference and Mid-American Conference.

Barstool, the digital media company, previously sponsored the bowl.

Gin & Juice, named after Snoop's 1994 hit, is the first product from Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre’s new premium spirits company.

“College football fans are exhausted by the constant talk around NIL, conference realignment, coach movement, transfer portal and super conferences,” Snoop Dog said in a video on social media. “So it's time we get back to the roots of college football, what it was focused on — the colleges, the players, the competition, the community, fan experience and the pageantry. Being a fan, coach, supporter of all levels of the game, I've sent many players through my [Snoop Youth Football League] to colleges and the NFL, so it’s only fitting that I step up and help get this thing right.”

Brandon Brown of the Phoenix Business Journal, who’s written about this, joined The Show to talk more about it.

Full conversation

MARK BRODIE: So how did this come to be?

BRANDON BROWN: I think there's one way is, you know, Snoop Dogg has always had his mind on his money and his money on his mind. But it's the, the, this Arizona bowl in, in Tucson has the naming rights had had kind of, had expired, and Snoop Dogg kind of came in here with his, his Gin & Juice, his alcoholic beverage company to come in and take the naming rights over.

BRODIE: And was there something specific about this bowl game? I mean, it could be just that the naming rights were up but like, are there other reasons why this this particular game was appealing to, to Snoop Dogg?

BROWN: I think one of the reasons might be is overall, it's cheaper to get into this game than other college football games. College football has grown to such a massive business. The Arizona Bowl is relatively smaller, it's played by smaller conferences. It doesn't have as big of a following. So I think if you want to get into this business, in the college football, start up a little bit smaller, it's probably a little bit cheaper to get into. But then also Arizona, Tucson where it's played as kind of a little bit of a party culture. It's an alcoholic beverage kind of doing it as well as, you know, Snoop Dogg who's known to kind of have a little party sense around him. So, I think, it all kind of winds up pretty well.

BRODIE: Is it getting any blowback that there is an alcohol company sponsoring a college football bowl game?

BROWN: So far, I haven't seen any blowback. This bowl game has a little bit of a history with a kind of a controversial sponsor. Its last sponsor was Barstool Sports.

BRODIE: Yeah, that was seen as very controversial by some last year.

BROWN: Yeah. So, yeah, they were, Barstool Sports was there for three years and because of, you know, the kind of the misogyny and a little bit of, racism that sometimes related to that brand as well as gambling and some other stuff, people didn't love it that, you know. Pima County pulled some funding from that bowl game. But, so that bowl game and the people who run it aren't afraid of a little controversy, I guess.

But Snoop Dogg also has been, he's been part of popular culture for 30 years. You know, he won't, you know, we, we joked that some of his lyrics, we can't, joke about online, on, on the air because language. But, you know, he has been on, you know, kids shows, he's been on cooking shows, been friends with Martha Stewart. He's gonna be on the Olympics this year, right? So, yeah, he's gonna be the broadcaster for the Olympics. So he's been part of popular culture for a long time. So I don't think it's seeing that much blowback yet, even though it is his alcoholic beverage company that's got a part of it.

BRODIE: So what does it do for him and for his brand to be associated, I guess, with a college football bowl game and maybe this one in particular?

BROWN: I think college football is, is one of the sports that we see viewership keep growing and growing. You know, Major League Baseball viewership is kind of keeps going down. Same with, college basketball as well as the NBA. I like all those things, but not as many people are watching them. But, college football's viewership kind of keeps expanding and expanding. And so it opens the door for more companies to get involved and they'd be like, hey, like there's more audience, let's get involved. Let's maybe, put my alcoholic beverage in front of people.

BRODIE: Yeah. Are there other bowl games that are named after people?

BROWN: There's a game in, in Los Angeles. It was called the Jimmy Kimmel Bowl. And yes for maybe one or two years and then it switched into as the Rob Gronkowski Bowl, which is, you know, he's a U of A alum as well. But those, those were there, but I, I think those games were and the names with them are just more of kind of a fun like, hey, here's celebrities at a ball game. It wasn't necessarily sponsoring a product, which, which Snoop Dogg's doing here.

BRODIE: Right. And plus, you know, he gets the added benefit of us talking about it here on public radio, which I'm sure is very helpful for the Snoop Dogg Gin & Juice brand.

BROWN: I, I don't know how, how Snoop Dogg and KJZZ's audience cross-sects until now.

BRODIE: The center of the Venn diagram is very large in that, I suspect. So like, do you foresee or do folks in the industry see more of this coming up, that maybe celebrities or well-known people with their own brands will try to get into to this kind of, of naming or advertising opportunity?

BROWN: Yeah, I think, you see this across a lot of places, where celebrities are putting their names on products. It's always been kind of a case. Sometimes it would be more of a spokesperson thing. But, you know, especially when we talk about, Snoop Dogg and within rap's, within the rap industry, a lot of people license their names for alcohol products. And so as that industry grows, it's just gonna grow as other, other advertising grows as well.

BRODIE: Any chance that during the game there will be music played over the loudspeakers that is not Snoop Dogg music?

BROWN: Oh, that's a good, I, I don't know, he's a, I think he's a fan of all sorts of different types of music. So he, I think he might, maybe he's gonna play DJ a little bit. He'll let that, he can, he'll get some other stuff out there.

BRODIE: He can create the playlist himself. Interesting.

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Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.