The New Mexico Bowl has been given a fashionable new look.
ESPN and Gildan Activewear Inc. announced a multi-year deal on June 20 to sponsor the bowl beginning with the 2011 Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. The game kicks off the college football bowl season.

The deal is part of a collegiate partnership reached by ESPN Regional Television and Gildan.

Jeff Siembieda has been the executive director of the annual bowl game since 2006, and said the sponsorship deal has been five years in the making.

“This is a great day for us,” he said. “We had six months to put on the first event, and of course last year we had our fifth annual game. We’re continuing to move forward and enter into a new era with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. We are so pleased to announce today our new title partner and to welcome Gildan to the ESPN family and to the New Mexico Bowl.”

Glenn Chamandy, Gildan’s president, said the deal with ESPN and the bowl game will help build the brand. He also said the sponsorship means that 500 tickets will be donated to educational and youth groups in Albuquerque.

The bowl game has traditionally been a battle between two teams from the Mountain West Conference and the Western Athletic Conference, but that’s about to change.

The New Mexico Bowl reached an agreement with the Pac-12 conference — formerly the Pac-10 — that is slated to start this year.

“We are excited to begin our relationship with the Pac-12 this year and to have our game showcased as the first bowl game of the year once again,” Siembieda said. “The Saturday afternoon time slot has been very good to us. Kicking off the bowl season in New Mexico with the whole nation watching a Pac-12 team take on a team from the Mountain West is a great opportunity for our state.”

And the Worldwide Leader in Sports is roused about the chance to broadcast the game for the sixth year in a row. Clint Overby, ESPN Senior of Events, said Gildan is a perfect sponsorship for the New Mexico Bowl.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since we started this game, but it’s been a great five years,” he said. “When we started this, there was always the intention and the vision to find the right fit from corporate America into this game, a company that would share the same passion and commitment to the culture and the state that it warrants.”

The bowl game will also spice up its logo.

The new New Mexico Bowl logo will feature the Gildan logo, but it will maintain the Zia symbol and feature the Sandia Mountains.

Siembieda said the collaboration between the bowl game, ESPN and Gildan is remarkable.

“They want to be part of this event and they want to grow with this event,” Siembieda said. “It is not just about saying it is the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.”