What with all the soundbites, quips and cliches this week, you'd think someone would've taken the time to let us all know that Golden Flake is no longer an official SEC brand. I know, I know that's difficult news to take. "The South's Original Potato Chip" has been partnered with the Southeastern Conference for years (both are headquartered in Birgmingham).
But a quick check of the SEC's official website reveals there are now just six corporate sponsors for the league: Allstate, AT&T, Belk, Dr. Pepper, Gatorade and Regions. Belk signed on in May as "the official retail department store" of the conference and the SEC Network. It's no coincidence that the SEC recently signed up to make the Belk Bowl one of its bowl partners. Belk is headquartered in Charlotte. The bowl game is played in Charlotte. And the new SEC Network studios? Yeah, they're in Charlotte, too.
As for Golden Flake, here's guessing the monetary commitment level was simply growing too large for the regional outfit. Also, ESPN is now in charge of selling most SEC media. So outside looking in, it appears to this writer as though the Golden Flake's long relationship with the SEC didn't carry much weight with the new folks controlling SEC media sales. (I'm reminded of Tom Hagen asking not to have his consigliere duties taken away only to have Vito Corleone tell him that Michael is now making those decisions.)
Belk is reportedly set to bring make more than $4 billion in 2014. Last year, Golden Flake's revenue was measured at $137 million. You can do the math on that one.
It will be interesting to see if another chip takes the place of Golden Flake. Tostitos obviously throws a lot of cash at sports promotion. Might they be next big brand on board the SEC's money train?
But today is for mourning. We mourn the departure of Golden Flake as a top SEC brand. And we'll allow Bear Bryant to deliver the eulogy. (Hat tip: The Birmingham News.)