FTX.US is buying naming rights to the playing field at California Memorial Field through Learfield Sports, and in a first Learfield will accept the full $17.5-million payment for FTX Field in cryptocurrency on behalf of the university.
Under the terms of the deal the field will be known as FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium.
Cal and FTX share a connection in FTX.US’s Chief Operating Officer Sina Nader, who earned his bachelor’s degree in legal studies from Cal and was also a walk-on member of the Golden Bears football team during his time there.
“We’re excited to partner with one of the world’s great universities and expand crypto’s presence into the collegiate athletics landscape,” Nader said via press release. “This historic partnership will also allow us to collaborate on charitable initiatives that align with our organization’s core values. Personally, I am excited to work alongside my alma mater to collaborate with local communities around a variety of causes. In the spirit of giving back, we are also committing an additional $200,000 on top of this partnership, which will specifically be used to help fight homelessness in Berkeley, and to support organizations that help underrepresented student groups at UC Berkeley.”
In addition to the FTX Field naming rights, Cal Athletics and FTX will support and build out a community engagement program for the Cameron Institute for Student-Athlete Development. One of the primary focal points for the institute, the community engagement pillar helps student-athletes understand the benefits of public service and success through short-term and long-term commitments. With a significant financial investment from FTX, these efforts will initially focus on serving communities including the homeless population in Berkeley, underrepresented students and the Cal Veterans Group. Also on tap as part of the partnership: new on-field branding and branding on athletics press backdrops, social integration, as well as the launch of a robust community service platform that will support projects across a variety of philanthropic causes.
We believe we have found a great partner in FTX,” Cal Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said via press release. “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. We are looking forward to building our relationship now and in the years ahead.”
This is not the first naming-rights deal for the cryptocurrency firm: In March a 19-year deal was announced for FTX Arena, home of the Miami Heat.