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Sponsor names like ‘TaxSlayer’ are modern realities

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By Optic Editorial Board

One group of college football fans is always disappointed with the result of a bowl game, such as the TaxSlayer.com Bowl.

However, fans across the country seem to be disappointed with the sheer number of bowl games, and/or the silly sponsored names of each game.

Corporate sponsorship isn’t new, though the information age makes it seem like there are more of these types of partnerships than there used to be. Some of the names sound ridiculous on their own, and even more incredulous when paired with a college football game or another event.

However, these are business necessities, both for the bowls and the sponsors, and we have long accepted this sponsorship freely into other aspects of our lives. How long have race vehicles, softball teams and bowling leagues featured business sponsors?

There was once a California bowling team named after Butts Pontiac, with “P-o-n-t-a-i-c” as the spelling on the back — negative publicity is still publicity. We gladly welcome sponsors of local youth activities.

The outfield walls of some baseball fields are completely covered with everything from burger joints to nail salons. Granted, we secretly hoped we wouldn’t need to sponsor everything, or that we could have had more major, well-known companies advertise with events we like.

New Mexico fans might not like the sound of Dreamstyle Stadium or WisePies Arena, but the combination of major business exposure and the need for institutions to move from complicated fundraisers to trackable corporate donations means this change is somewhat permanent.

Most of us had never heard of TaxSlayer before those folks decided to sponsor a bowl game.

We’d heard of BitCoin, Duck Commander and Buffalo Wild Wings before they jumped into the bowl scene, but I thought the phrase “Famous Idaho Potatoes” were simply a chamber of commerce plug for that state’s best-known export. The website Lost Letterman lists the five aforementioned bowl names as the “five most ridiculous” among the 39 bowls played in 2014-15.

We don’t like to mess with our traditions. No one wants to see their favorite event or place take on a new name, strictly for business reasons. It would be unnatural for no one to complain.