On Monday, Cal Athletics announced a naming rights sponsorship deal with FTX US, a cryptocurrency exchange company. The 10-year $17.5 million deal grants FTX naming rights to the field at Memorial Stadium, which from now on will be known as FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium.
Owned and operated by Cal Athletics’ multimedia rights-holder Learfield’s Cal Bears Sports Properties and West Realm Shires Services Inc., FTX was recently valued at $18 billion, currently owns the naming rights to the Miami Heat’s stadium FTX Arena and is the official cryptocurrency exchange of Major League Baseball.
Learfield will accept the $17.5 million on behalf of the university. It is the first sponsorship deal in collegiate history to be paid entirely in cryptocurrency.
“We believe we have found a great partner in FTX,” said Cal Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton. “FTX is a growing company at the forefront of innovation in an emerging technology, one that fits well at both Cal and in the Bay Area. This agreement extends well beyond field naming rights, which is part of our strategic plan to diversify revenue streams in support of our student-athlete experience and includes commitments for our Cameron Institute, Cal Veterans and students in need here in Berkeley.”
FTX Chief Operating Officer Sina Nader is a UC Berkeley alumnus and a former walk-on member of the blue and gold’s football team. In Cal Athletics’ press release regarding the deal, Nader is quoted to say that FTX has pledged an additional $200,000 towards organizations that help underrepresented student groups on campus and the houseless population in Berkeley.
Besides field naming rights, the deal includes onfield branding as well as branding on athletics press backdrops.