As the recession unravels many stadium and sports sponsorship deals around the country, OSI Restaurants Partners Inc. has agreed to extend its sponsorship of the Outback Bowl in Tampa four more years through 2014.
Terms were not disclosed, but the naming rights go with a nationally televised game generally rated as one of the more popular non-Bowl Championship Series games. The deal also means Tampa-based OSI, which owns Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill, will have sponsored the New Year's Day game for 19 years, the second longest of any bowl sponsorship.
"We, as a company, think it is important to renew our title sponsorship and keep the Outback Bowl as a major event for Tampa Bay," said Bill Allen, OSI chief executive officer. "This event continues to have a substantial economic impact and provides national exposure for the region."
Like all casual dining chains, OSI has suffered declines in same-store sales. The sales slump put a big profit squeeze on a company managing a $2-billion debt burden. OSI got more breathing room last month by buying back and retiring $300-million in unsecured junk bond debt at 30 cents on the dollar.
Around the country more corporate sponsorships are being given up thanks to upheaval in the banking, airline and auto industry. The owners of the Ford Amphitheater in Tampa are hunting for a replacement to buy naming rights.
Mark Albright can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8252.