As part of their aggressive expansion plan on the Stanford campus, Starbucks has officially announced the purchase of the naming rights to “Big Game,” and will be rebranding the annual Bay Area rivalry after their own large drink container size – the “venti.”
In light of the announcement, Stanford President John Hennessy and UC-Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau issued a joint statement saying, “The blatant commercialization of this 115-year-old tradition could not have come at a better time for our respective universities. We have thousands of sleep-deprived college students staying up all night studying at Stanford or partying at Berkeley and we think this is a great opportunity to market one of the few remaining caffeinated beverages that is still non-alcoholic.”
The deal promises to be especially lucrative for UC-Berkeley which, in the midst of state budget cuts, can use the funds to hire professors, decrease class sizes, and revitalize athletic programs that are on the chopping block. Stanford also has critical outlets for the money, including maintenance of the campus’s carefully groomed lawns, water for the picturesque palm trees along Palm Drive, and polish to maintain the luster of the faculty’s numerous Nobel Prizes.
While the financial details of the settlement will be made public in the coming days, sources close to the negotiations indicated that Starbucks was initially interested in investing in the USC-UCLA rivalry, but pulled out after “recent NCAA investigations at USC produced uneasiness about how the athletic department intended to allocate the funds.”