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‘Straight out of a Cheez-It box.’ The story behind the Orlando bowl hotel rooms

One Florida State player will sleep in a Cheez-It room before next week’s Orlando bowl game as part of a name, image and likeness deal.
Four players from Florida State or Oklahoma in this month's Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando will stay in a room that looks like this.
Four players from Florida State or Oklahoma in this month's Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando will stay in a room that looks like this. [ Courtesy of Kellogg ]
Published Dec. 19, 2022|Updated Dec. 19, 2022

If you’re among the college football fans who get salty about what name, image and likeness deals have done to the sport, allow us to present an irrefutable counterargument.

The Cheez-It hotel room.

Four players — including one from No. 13 Florida State — will be staying in one in Orlando before the Dec. 29 Cheez-It Bowl and the Jan. 2 Citrus Bowl (also sponsored by Cheez-It). Virtually every inch is dedicated to the Kellogg’s snack food, from floor-to-ceiling wallpaper to dressers, shower curtains and “motivational Cheez-It-inspired artwork.”

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Players will be able to wear Cheez-It slippers and Cheez-It robes as they walk across a Cheez-It rug to turn off a Cheez-It lamp (with red and yellow mood lighting) before snuggling up under a Cheez-It blanket, pulling a Cheez-It sleep mask over their eyes and resting their head on a Cheez-It pillow. When they wake up, they can do so to an “I woke up feelin’ the cheeziest, Coach!” alarm clock.

The goal, Cheez-It brand senior director Erin Storm said, was “to create an experience that felt like our NIL partners were stepping into Cheez-It paradise.”

A select number of fans will be able to stay in a room that looks like this at Camping World Stadium the night before the Dec. 29 Cheez-It Bowl between Florida State and Oklahoma.
A select number of fans will be able to stay in a room that looks like this at Camping World Stadium the night before the Dec. 29 Cheez-It Bowl between Florida State and Oklahoma. [ Courtesy of Kellogg ]

Like most things in the name, image and likeness space, the financial details are opaque. Storm declined to share how much, ahem, cheddar the players will receive, other than that their rooms will include plenty of Cheez-It crackers to snack on. She also declined to specify how the four players are being chosen. She did, however, say that the players will give an “inside look” on social media the night before their games.

Storm also shared some more insight into the project via an email Q&A with the Tampa Bay Times.

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The inspiration came from the brand’s famous commercial, where a wheel of cheese in shoulder pads yells the famous, cheesy line at his coach in the locker room. That’s why Cheez-It wanted to “help college football athletes bring their motivation to champion levels from the moment they wake up in the morning to the end of the game.”

The brand spent months planning and coordinating the details internally and with third parties. Every item was custom-designed and order to “look and feel straight out of a Cheez-It box.”

“We’re very thankful for strong relationships with not only our agency partners and vendors, but also Florida Citrus Sports and the respective team hotels,” Storm said. “We are working closely with all partners to create an experience that truly ties in our brand identity.”

Fans also have the chance to get involved in the over-the-top cheesiness (er, cheeziness). Attendees of the Dec. 28 pep rallies at Pointe Orlando will have a shot at sleeping in one of the suites at Camping World Stadium the night before the game and watching the action from on-field suites — replicas of the hotel rooms that will sit near the north end zone.

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“After months of planning and coordination,” Storm said, “we’re excited to see our vision come to life and to give athletes and fans a one-of-a-kind experience, all while including experiential elements that are true to our brand.”

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