By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
ELK Grove Village will return as the title sponsor for the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl.
Board members unanimously voted Tuesday night to renew its sponsorship and exercised its one-year option to continue its role.
According to the Chicago Daily Herald, Elk Grove will once again pay $300,000 to ESPN Productions with plans to possibly invest an additional $100,000 on marketing the event.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to potentially do it again,” said Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson. “But we have no preconceived beliefs we’re going to get the same kind of coverage we got last year. We know that’s not going to happen.”
ESPN’s independent audit reported that the 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl produced $12 million in media exposure.
The Makers Wanted tagline serves as a call-to-action for Elk Grove Village’s thriving community and the thousands of businesses that are based there. The sponsorship of last year’s game was the first time a non-tourist municipality has ever sponsored a bowl game, and the sponsorship highlights the innovative thinking found in Elk Grove Village.
THE 2018 bowl game exceeded the expectations of several international media outlets in its fourth edition. It was recognised as the No.7 ranked bowl by CBS Sports in their recap of NCAA postseason football play.
The December 21 contest at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium featured FIU claiming the Prime Minister’s trophy with a 35-32 win over Toledo.
“This game gave you everything you could ask for between two smaller schools on a Caribbean island during a Friday afternoon,” CBS Sports said.
“There were big plays and a lot of touchdowns, but the final score was a bit misleading. FIU took a 35-25 lead with 41 seconds left to put the game away, but Toledo went 75 yards in 39 seconds to score a touchdown with two seconds left to make the final margin only three points.” CBS Sports previously projected the Bahamas Bowl ranked at No.31 out of the 39 bowl games.
Toledo jumped out to an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter, but FIU erased the deficit by halftime.
FIU quarterback Christian Alexander was named Offensive Player of the Game, going 17-for-26 through the air for 209 yards and a touchdown. He also added 87 yards on 10 carries, which was a Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl record for a quarterback.
Panther running back Anthony Jones carried the ball 15 times for 92 yards and three touchdowns.
The Defensive Player of the game was linebacker Edwin Freeman, who led FIU with eight tackles, including five unassisted.
FIU (9-4) concluded the year with a school record nine wins, while Toledo finished the season 7-6 overall.
Conference USA schools hold a 3-2 advantage over MAC schools in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl.