Sports Business Journal has its annual breakdown of bowl gifts, including those provided by the Orange Bowl. This year the Hokies will be provided a Tourneau watch and New Era hat as well as their choice of goodies from a gift suite. Gift suites have been popular the last couple years at bowl games, where players are allowed to pick their bowl swag from a list of items. It's basically a shopping spree where players "spend" up to the $500 limit in goodies bowls are allowed to give their participants.
A change to the gift suite for this year is also chronicled by the SBJ in a story that features Virginia Tech punter Brian Saunders. Most of the suites will be on-campus this year instead of at the bowl destination. This will ensure the players get their items before the holidays and that they'll arrive safely. According to the story, players have had items break in the past.
Saunders' has a pretty impressive haul for a punter who's only started one season:
Seven rings, seven watches, Oakley Thump MP3 sunglasses, an iPod nano, a GPS system, a Sony PlayStation Portable and noise-canceling headphones - not to mention a bounty of apparel.
I like the idea of the gift suites moving on for a lot of reasons. Like the story mentions, the bowl swag is less likely to break and it can be used as a recruiting tool. But it's also one less distraction the players have when they go to the bowl game. Instead of worrying about what electronics, furniture and other gifts they want, the players can worry more about Stanford when they get to Miami.