Jersey Mike's secures naming rights to Rutgers Athletics
By Fast Casual
Jersey Mike's Subs has secured the official naming rights to Rutgers Athletics in New Jersey. Home men's and women's basketball, wrestling, gymnastics and volleyball, in addition to future concerts and events, the stadium is now called the Jersey Mike's Arena.
"Jersey Mike's is the perfect partner for Rutgers Athletics," Pat Hobbs, Director of Athletics, said in a company press release. "Our New Jersey brand extends beyond our borders; it is a state of mind that speaks to our core values of grit and the pursuit of excellence. Jersey Mike's is an organization also engaged in the relentless pursuit of excellence, so what better partner for the State University of New Jersey?"
The partnership between Rutgers and Jersey Mike's pairs two homegrown New Jersey brands, both on a path of growth. Rutgers men's basketball took its place among the nation's top teams, earning its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 30 years and capturing a first-round win, making good on head coach Steve Pikiell's pledge to make the program a March Madness contender. Women's basketball continues to add NCAA Tournament berths to its historic record, advancing to its 26th postseason, including 17th consecutive under the direction of Hall of Fame head coach C. Vivian Stringer, according to the release.
Rutgers wrestling added two national championship banners to the arena rafters, rising up the ranks of college athletics. The success Rutgers Athletics has enjoyed in competition aligns with Jersey Mike's growth. This year, Jersey Mike's ranked seventh on Entrepreneur's Franchise 500, the company's third year on the top-10 list.
"Rutgers University is a home state neighbor that shares our values of excellence and community involvement," Peter Cancro, founder and CEO of Jersey Mike's Franchise Systems Inc. said in the release. "Jersey Mike's is proud to partner with Rutgers Athletics and celebrate the school's many dedicated student-athletes and their fans."
A passionate fan base has helped fuel many of the Rutgers Athletics programs that call Jersey Mike's Arena home, including the men's basketball team, which has a sellout streak of nine-straight games. Home attendance for wrestling continues to be one of the highest in the country, as Rutgers was fourth nationally in attendance following the 2019-20 season. The success of these programs attracts several hundred thousand spectators each season who will travel in and out of Jersey Mike's Arena. Widely seen as one of the loudest venues in the country, the arena offers one of the best home-court advantages in college athletics, according to the release.
"We are pleased to partner with a Jersey-born company committed to making a difference through its generous giving to charities," Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway said in the release. "Jersey's Mike's philanthropic history aligns with our core values that center on outreach to our communities and a relentless pursuit of excellence in all we do."
Founded in 1956 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, the storefront location was originally called Mike's Subs. In 1975, Cancro, a 17-year-old high school senior, who had worked there since he was 14, bought the operation with the help of his football coach. He grew the business into a franchise with over 2,000 locations nationwide.