Snoop Dogg to sponsor Arizona Bowl with Gin & Juice brand

Snoop Dogg will sponsor the Arizona Bowl starting this season.
Snoop Dogg will sponsor the Arizona Bowl starting this season.

PHOENIX — In February of 2022, Snoop Dogg, dressed in a lavish purple jumpsuit and a gold chain hung around his neck, entertained the world atop a makeshift stage during the halftime show of the Super Bowl.

Two years later, he has his own bowl.

The 52-year-old, 17-time Grammy Award-winning hip-hop star is the new title sponsor of the Arizona Bowl. And his beverage line with Dr. Dre, Gin & Juice, is its new presenting sponsor — a groundbreaking and historic college football bowl pairing.

The game’s full name is a unique combination of words: Snoop Dogg Arizona Bowl presented by Gin & Juice by Dre and Snoop.

Previously sponsored by Barstool, the Arizona Bowl is again pushing boundaries as the first bowl to partner with an alcohol brand. Introduced earlier this year, Gin & Juice, a gin-based canned cocktail, is the first product from Dr. Dre and Snoop’s new premium spirits company. It celebrates the 30th anniversary of Snoop’s classic debut album, “Doggystyle,” produced by Dre, and is named for Snoop’s Grammy-nominated 1994 classic “Gin & Juice.”

“We are a little different from all the other bowls. We’re not afraid to take risks and do things outside of the box,” said Kym Adair, the executive director of the Arizona Bowl. “An alcohol brand has always been off the table for us until recently. Everybody in the stadium is drinking a beer or cocktail. It’s time for the industry to evolve.”

The Snoop Dogg Arizona Bowl kicks off at 2:30 p.m. MT on Dec. 28 and is expected to be televised on a network with wide linear distribution, though that deal is not yet finalized. The game, a 501(c)(3) that donates all revenues to charity, is one of few not either owned or televised on ESPN, something that gives it the flexibility to expand beyond traditional bowl thinking, Adair said.

One of the game’s consulting partners, Playfly Sports, arranged the marriage between the bowl and Snoop Dogg, an avid football fan whose Los Angeles-based Snoop Youth Football League (SYFL) has provided opportunities for more than 60,000 inner-city children over its 18-year existence.

“I’ve sent many players through my SYFL to colleges and the NFL so it’s only fitting that I bring the 'juice' back to college football,” Snoop Dogg said in a statement to Yahoo Sports. “With Gin & Juice By Dre and Snoop, we’re going to make the Arizona Bowl into a game day experience like never before.”

Snoop Dogg is expected to contribute to the in-game broadcast, will participate in bowl activities leading up to the game and will be featured in a musical component. There are plans for a “Snooper Bowl,” where the artist plans to bring the top California and Arizona youth teams together for a battle the week of the game. “Plus,” Snoop added, “we have some surprises coming this year, ya dig.”

Fans should expect to see a halftime or postgame concert and, perhaps, an Impala roll across the field at some point. The Impala was a featured item in the Gin & Juice rollout earlier this year.

The Arizona Bowl’s leap to prominently partner with a spirits company opens up an entire new category for bowl games, said Michael Schreiber, the founder and CEO of Playfly Sports. According to Playfly's data, gin drinkers at sporting events are 47% more likely to be college football fans versus the general population.

“The other part is the activation with an alcohol brand. Alcohol is sold and is allowable at bowl games. There are interesting integrations you can do,” Schreiber said. “Look at the Pop-Tarts Bowl. That’s amazing work done with the activation of a brand. This is going to be the same in that respect. I think that even the announcement creates an interesting and exciting buzz.”

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 13: (L-R) Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg perform during the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg perform during the Super Bowl LVI halftime show at SoFi Stadium in 2022. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The partnership is the latest example of the evolution of bowl games. In an expanded College Football Playoff format and within a new college athlete compensation model, the 35 non-playoff bowl games are striving to market themselves in a different way to remain viable and relevant among detractors. They are rebranding as more fun events that offer players and fans unique experiences originating from warm destinations.

In an industry that is growing into a serious business, a worrisome trend — players skipping bowl games — has emerged as a serious concern for bowl officials.

Last week, Bowl Season director Nick Carparelli said he expects name, image and likeness (NIL) to soon be brought under the school’s control and for athletes to sign binding compensation contracts with schools that will require them to play in bowls and CFP games, eliminating or greatly reducing opt-outs. Carparelli spoke to NCAA president Charlie Baker about the topic at a recent meeting.

Carparelli’s notion is likely rooted in a new athlete compensation model built around revenue sharing and related to a settlement in the House antitrust case.

“I think we’ll see agreements, much like any other employment agreement between athletes and the university now compensating them, whether it’s employee or employer relationship or inducement contractors, and when we see these binding agreements with their student-athletes, you’re going to see student-athletes that are required to play in 12 regular-season games, the bowl game and the CFP as part of their compensation, not unlike how the rest of the real world works,” he said.

Opt-outs or not, bowl games remain popular with television viewers. They normally draw more than a million viewers and routinely beat ratings numbers for simultaneous broadcasts of NBA, NHL and college basketball regular-season games. For instance, last year’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Texas Bowl and Military Bowl all drew at least 2.2 million viewers. No single NBA and NHL game that day eclipsed the 500,000 mark, according to Sports Media Watch.

In about eight months, the country will have the opportunity to tune into a new game: the Snoop Dogg Arizona Bowl presented by Gin & Juice by Dre and Snoop.

“We are the way bowl games used to be,” Adair said. “It’s allowed us to be entrepreneurial and risk taking. We’re able to bring back what I think bowls were originally for, which is a celebration of football and the community. In this landscape, that celebration has been lost and dismissed by people out of touch. For those who think that we don’t matter because there’s the playoff situation, they don’t get it.”