Football: State Farm backs 30th Bayou Classic

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Hundreds of thousands of people will stream into New Orleans for a football game and the Louisiana Superdome will be sold out.

Super Bowl?

No. While the Super Bowl comes to town every four or five years, the State Farm Bayou Classic is entering its 30th consecutive year as the premier black-college football game in the country. This year's game on Nov. 29 again pits Southern University vs. Grambling State.

This is the eighth-consecutive season State Farm has title-sponsored the game. Southern and Grambling are, arguably, the two best-known predominantly black colleges in the country and have been staging this season-ending rivalry game since 1975.

State Farm jumped in with title sponsorship in 1996. The agreements are signed in three-year blocks beginning at about $4 million. State Farm has held the sponsorship since then and indicated a willingness to sign another three-year deal beginning in 2005. General Electric Corp.'s NBC Sports will televise its 13th-consecutive Bayou Classic.

The weekend extravaganza also includes a Battle of the Bands competition, a Miss Bayou Classic pageant and a job fair for future graduates of the two schools, also sponsored by State Farm.

Other sponsors with commercial time during the game include Ford Motor Co., Coca-Cola Co., Southwest Airlines, Johnson Publishing's Ebony magazine and the U.S. Marine Corps.

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