The Granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl, has a new sponsor

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The Northwestern Wildcats may not have a storied tradition associated with the Rose Bowl, but Northwestern Mutual looks forward to years of memories. Northwestern Mutual will be the new presenting sponsor of the Rose Bowl starting with the 2015 game.

According to a report by the Associated Press (via USA Today), the new sponsorship deal runs through the 2020 season, meaning Northwestern Mutual will be the game’s top sponsor through the 2021 Rose Bowl. There is a difference between being a presenting sponsor and a title sponsor. This means the Rose Bowl will continue to be called the Rose Bowl as opposed to a corporate sponsored name like the Capital One Bowl or the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Instead, the game will officially be referred to as “The Rose Bowl presented by Northwestern Mutual.”

The Rose Bowl will continue to pair the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-12 unless one or both teams are selected to participate in the College Football Playoff. The Rose Bowl will serve as a host site for the national semifinals in 2015 and 2018, so the possibility exists a team from nother conference could play in the game as well.

“This is groundbreaking stuff,” said Northwestern Mutual chairman and CEO John Schlifske. “I think you look at what this is, it’s going to become a spectacle. I think it’s going to be a much bigger thing that just who wins the national championship. I think it’s going to turn into more than just a sporting event. It’s going to be a spectacle in America.”

The 2015 Rose Bowl (presented by Northwestern Mutual) will be played on (a slimmed down) January 1, 2015 at 5 pm eastern. The game will be televised by ESPN.