In a bizarre, though hardly shocking, twist to the corporate takeover of college athletics, Michigan State is taking on a new, nauseating name.
To appease the advertising gods and indulge in the spoils of sponsorship, Michigan State men's basketball will now be known in within the Breslin Center as "MSU Spartans Presented by Rocket Mortgage."
The on-campus name change is part of a lucrative expansion of Michigan State's endorsement deal with Rocket Mortgage, which the school announced Thursday.
"Rocket Mortgage has been a valued partner for years with Michigan State and we are excited that they are continuing to support our program into the future," said head coach Tom Izzo in a statement. "As presenting sponsor of our season, their presence will be an asset as we compete for championships."
Naturally, Izzo failed to mention that the amateur athletes who will be contending for those championships will not be getting a cut of the endorsement dollars.
Rocket Mortgage will also have a notable presence in the radio programming for MSU's men's basketball, women's basketball, football and hockey games.
While this isn't the first time a private business has found its way into a team's name (example: the New York Red Bulls, Red Bull Leipzig), that company is almost always the franchise's owner. In this case, Rocket Mortgage is paying the university millions of dollars to attach its name to the basketball program.
Maybe when the five-year deal is done, Sparty once again will have full ownership of the Michigan State basketball name. Unless the advertising gods have something to say about that.
Michigan State Athletics released a statement on Friday addressing the announcement.
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