Corporate sponsorships are not to be limited to bowl games or conference championship games. The next logical step to take is traditional rivalry games. The Red River
Shootout Rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas will have a brand new name featuring a corporate sponsorship in the official name. This year the Sooners and Longhorns will compete in the AT&T Red River Showdown.
“As a University of Texas alumnus I have long enjoyed the Texas-Oklahoma series and the great tradition it represents for Texas and Oklahoma fans,” said Texas Athletics Director Steve Patterson in a statement announcing the name change. “We look forward to working with AT&T representatives and the University of Oklahoma to generate excitement for the new name and brand, and continuing our relationships with the State Fair of Texas.”
Translation: We appreciate AT&T cutting us a check to add a silly corporate sponsorship to the formal name of our rivalry.
The Oklahoma vs. Texas rivalry, whatever you choose to refer to it as, is one of the lone historic rivalries that has found a way to survive the realignment phase. The fact that the game is still played in the old Cotton Bowl Stadium is a reminder that sometimes tradition can prevail over money grabs in collegiate athletics. Sure, this is just renaming the game that few people will actually adapt to, but to see the game treated this way is a tad disappointing for the purist college football fans out there.