ESPN lands The Jacked-Up Priorities Bowl

Published 12:37 am Saturday, March 13, 2010

In case you missed it, there is about a four-paragraph story that hit this week about the latest in a long line of ridiculous college football bowl games. This particular one is to be played in the new Yankee Stadium and is known rather unaffectionately as the Jacked Up Priorities Bowl.

OK, so they are billing it as the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. But the former description is more suitable.

Quick, what is the only thing more inane than playing a meaningless college football game between a No. 6 team from the Big 12 and a No. 3 team from Big East outdoors in New York in late December in a baseball stadium and naming it after a fashion statement synonymous with the team that houses said stadium? How about shutting down two of your factories and putting hundreds of people out of work before agreeing to pay whatever unholy price is attached to sponsoring such a stupid affair?

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Inane or otherwise, that’s exactly what New Era just did.

Granted, the cost of sponsoring this game is probably markedly less than paying the salaries of some 700 employees and other operational costs associated with keeping the plants in Demopolis and Jackson open. But what kind of message is sent to those workers and their surrounding communities? And was there no better time to announce this deal?

Regardless of the intentions or the logic behind New Era’s business decision to get in bed with the Yankee organization, it is apparent that the 350 or so people now leaving the Cedar Ave. plant in search of work are little more than collateral damage during New Era’s corporate refocusing.

Typically, businesses who are financially hurting enough to close two of their three U.S. plants don’t turn around and ratchet up their marketing budgets by the seven figures it must have taken to get their name attached to a postseason college football game in Yankee Stadium.

It is clear that poor resource management and frivolous spending on the part of the company landed it in such a difficult situation to start with.

Equally as clear is the fact that those habits are not about to change, as the Pinstripe Bowl provides evidence that the cap-making company on the first thing smoking out of Demopolis is indeed not headed for a New Era.

Jeremy D. Smith is the sports editor of The Demopolis Times.