Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

W.W. Gay Adding to Bowl's Bottom Line; Gator Bowl Adds Presenting Sponsor in Area Firm; Talks Ongoing for '08 Title Sponsor

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

W.W. Gay Adding to Bowl's Bottom Line; Gator Bowl Adds Presenting Sponsor in Area Firm; Talks Ongoing for '08 Title Sponsor

Article excerpt

Byline: GARRY SMITS

Bill Gay will tell anyone who will listen that Jacksonville is a football hotbed in large part because of the Gator Bowl.

That's why Gay, chief executive officer and founder of W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor Inc. -- and chairman of the 1971 Gator Bowl -- stepped forward to make his company a presenting sponsor for the 2007 game at Alltel Stadium (Jan. 1, 1 p.m., CBS). The 62nd Gator Bowl will be between a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference against either a team from the Big 12, Big East, or Notre Dame.

W.W. Gay will have a presence on the Gator Bowl logo and other signage and banners. One of the stipulations by Gay is that the logo would read: "Presented by W.W. Gay employees."

"They have made it possible to be the corporate citizen we are," Gay said Thursday during a news conference at the company's Westside headquarters. "[The logo] is in recognition of the value of citizenship among our employees. Jacksonville has always been a football town, and [since 1995] we've been a pro football town. A big factor in that has been the Gator Bowl."

W.W. Gay employees (between 800 and 1,200, depending on the number of active contracts for the company, Gay said) will be able to purchase two tickets, a pregame barbecue meal and a parking pass for $40 as part of the company's support.

"Mr. Gay made it clear that he wanted this partnership to honor his employees," said Gator Bowl president Rick Catlett.

Toyota and the Gator Bowl extended its title sponsorship agreement for one more season after Toyota declined to sign another four-year contract following last year's game. Toyota had paid the Gator Bowl $1.25 million per year from 2003-2006, but balked at a higher sponsorship fee.

Although terms weren't disclosed, the financial support by W.W. Gay will fill the financial gap between the amount Toyota is paying the Gator Bowl this season, and the amount the amount the Gator Bowl Association had sought from Toyota -- about $500,000. …

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