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Outback Bowl changes name to Tampa Bay Bowl. Crikey!

Outback had been the game’s sponsor since the 1996 game. A six-year extension was announced in 2019.
The Outback Bowl is changing its name. The area festivities, including beach appearances, will likely remain.
The Outback Bowl is changing its name. The area festivities, including beach appearances, will likely remain. [ ARIELLE BADER | Special to the Times ]
Published Mar. 25|Updated Mar. 26

The Outback Bowl has become the Tampa Bay Bowl, the event announced Friday. The game, which dates back to the 1986 season, will remain at Raymond James Stadium with its traditional broadcast partner (ESPN), date (New Year’s Day) and conference affiliations (SEC and the Big Ten/ACC).

“We are thrilled about our new Tampa Bay Bowl logo and name, which is a reflection of our 36-year relationship with the vibrant Tampa Bay region as one of the most exciting and hospitable destinations of any college bowl game,” bowl chair Rita Lowman said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing the Tampa Bay Bowl’s positive impact on college football and the Tampa Bay community, both economically and by showcasing our region nationally and internationally.”

The Florida Gators have made many appearances at the Outback Bowl.
The Florida Gators have made many appearances at the Outback Bowl. [ Times (2017) ]

The game was first called the Hall of Fame Bowl. It was named after its sponsor before the 1996 game. The event regularly touted the fact that it had the longest-running sponsorship in the history of bowl games.

In 2019, the bowl announced a six-year contract extension with Outback, among other updates.

“We congratulate the Tampa Bay Bowl on their new name,” Bloomin’ Brands, which owns Outback Steakhouse, said in a statement Friday evening. “We have enjoyed showcasing the unique character of Tampa Bay through our long sponsorship and appreciate that the new name embraces the spirit of Tampa Bay.”

Arkansas beat Penn State 24-10 on Jan. 1 in the last game. Raymond James Stadium also hosts the Gasparilla Bowl in December; last season’s contest drew a sellout crowd to watch UCF beat Florida to win an unofficial state championship.

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