Rutgers University is nearing a naming-rights deal for the Rutgers Athletic Center with a partner befitting the state university: Jersey Mike’s Subs.

A contract has not been finalized, but barring an unforeseen setback, an agreement should get done in the coming weeks, according to multiple people familiar with the situation. The name, yet unknown, could be some variation of “The Jersey Mike’s Athletic Center at Rutgers.”

Rutgers Athletics officials were unavailable to comment on the matter Friday evening. 

Opened in 1977 and long known as “The RAC,” the 8,000-seat arena will bear the name of a corporate sponsor for the first time. Starting in 1986 its official title was the Louis Brown Athletic Center — Louis Brown was an alum who reportedly left the university $1 million when his died in 1984 — but that never fell into widespread use, and his name was quietly removed from Rutgers’ published materials about 10 years ago.

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Jersey Mike’s Subs, founded in Point Pleasant Beach in 1956, now has a national footprint but remains headquartered locally, in Manasquan. The company has been involved with Rutgers Athletics for several years and opened a shop in New Brunswick in 2016. 

The RAC is home to Rutgers men’s and women’s basketball games, wrestling matches and gymnastics meets, as well as a number of other events. Wrestling and basketball begin their schedules at home the week of Nov. 7. 

Generally speaking, discussions about RAC naming rights have been taking place for years, but progress was slowed by onset of the pandemic, which prevented fans from attending events in 2020-21. With men’s basketball coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 30 years, that program’s season-ticket base shot up roughly 50%. Head coach Steve Pikiell said last week he expects all 19 home games to sell out in 2021-22.

Jerry Carino has covered the New Jersey sports scene since 1996 and the college basketball beat since 2003. He is an Associated Press Top 25 voter. Contact him at [email protected]

Source: Asbury Park

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