ReliaQuest Excited to Build On Bowl Title Sponsorship Exposure
By Joey Johnston
TAMPA - On Monday's game day, Brian Murphy was so excited. He woke up at 4:30 a.m. He paced the house and imagined what was ahead while preparing for his first ReliaQuest Bowl.
"Whatever I expected, it surpassed everything I had imagined,'' Murphy said. "The weather was perfect. The players put on one heck of a show. We are so happy to be involved in such a wonderful community event.''
On the field, it was the Mississippi State Bulldogs rallying past the Illinois Fighting Illini 19-10 at Raymond James Stadium, a riveting finish for one of the season's most exciting bowl games.
Off the field - beginning with the moment that Murphy's ReliaQuest company signed on as the bowl's title sponsor - it was an education in the power of the bowl's many events and its enduring impact on the Tampa Bay area. Murphy also got to flip the game-day coin and present the championship trophy.
"I would describe it as a whirlwind,'' said Murphy, a founder and CEO of ReliaQuest, a cyber security firm that began in 2007. "You really build an appreciation for how much work goes into this game - and far from the actual week when the teams are here.
"Our city really rallies around it. It gave such great exposure to our customers, our partners and our teammates. It's something that we're really proud of - and we can't wait for the next ReliaQuest Bowl!''
Murphy, a Jacksonville area native and Florida State University graduate, moved to Tampa while beginning his career with Price Waterhouse Coopers. When he founded ReliaQuest, very few people even used the term "cyber security.''
"We called it 'Information Assurance,' '' Murphy said. "It was largely something that we talked about in banking and the military. But now it's on the forefront of everything we do. Everybody should know about it.
"It's an incredibly exciting and growing field. And it's not just technical jobs. If you want to get into sales, marketing, human relations it's an industry that needs a ton of good people, regardless of what you do. Part of our long-range vision is drawing more attention to our industry and getting involved in this bowl game has helped advance our profile exponentially. It's so much bigger than anything we've done before.''
The ReliaQuest Bowl - previously known as the Outback Bowl and the Hall of Fame Bowl - just celebrated its 37th edition in Tampa Bay. It has grown to a fixture in the New Year's Day lineup, featured on the ESPN/ABC networks, while generally matching teams from the SEC and Big Ten Conference. The bowl has generated an estimated economic impact of $1.1-billion while showcasing the Tampa Bay area's many assets to the game's visitors.
"Partnering with the bowl allows us to spread our message on a much bigger scale - in our backyard and worldwide - while really establishing ourselves as a company that gets involved in the community and gives back,'' said Murphy, whose company has more than 700 customers and 1,200 teammates working across six global operating centers. "We signed with the bowl game in June, so we're really looking forward to having a full year of preparation. It's going to be fun to have all the possible lead time to make it as good as it possibly can be.''
Jim McVay, the bowl game's president and CEO, said ReliaQuest has been an ideal title-sponsor partner.
"They are just excellent to work with,'' McVay said. "We love Brian and his team. ReliaQuest really likes all the facets of putting on a bowl game, all the promotional consideration, the outreach, the meeting of people, all the events that are part of it.
"ReliaQuest is a huge proponent of our community. So having them involved, and giving them the ability to cross-promote, will continue to grow our bowl. ReliaQuest already added a special aspect by honoring players from both teams for their community service. We are really enthused about where this partnership will go in the future.''
Meanwhile, ReliaQuest can also take advantage of the bowl game's impact on Tampa Bay's growth.
"We had a great matchup and a game that worked our beautifully,'' McVay said. "As usual, the real winner was the Tampa Bay community. To see our community showcased all over the world, with the television going to more than 100 countries, that's an enormous impact on our potential tourism and business relocation. We believe our bowl game has been a key factor in making Tampa Bay such a great place and we're really excited that we get to partner with ReliaQuest as we look to make it even bigger and better.''
"There's a magical quality to college football,'' Murphy said. "For our company to be part of it, it's truly amazing.''