In a ten-year deal, cryptocurrency exchange FTX purchased the naming rights of California Memorial Stadium for $17.5 million.
The stadium is the home field of the University of California Berkeley’s football team, the Golden Bears. The Cal Golden Bears will play their home games on the newly rebranded FTX Field this football season.
Learfield, the multimedia rights holder of Cal Athletics, said it would accept payment in cryptocurrency on behalf of the university. The deal represents a new revenue stream for the university, as its athletics department has been heavily subsidized for years.
FTX retains a few personal connections with the stadium as well. FTX COO Sina Nader was a walk-on member of the Golden Bears as an undergraduate. Additionally, founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s father is also an alum. Among the National Register of Historic Places, the stadium is located in Alameda County, the namesake of Bankman-Fried’s trading firm, Alameda Research.
This is just the latest sports tie-in for the cryptocurrency exchange as it works to raise its profile even further. FTX has already achieved a namesake stadium with the Miami Heat’s FTX Arena. Meanwhile, the company is also the official crypto exchange of Major League Baseball. After appearing together at the Bitcoin conference in Miami, NFL legend Tom Brady seems to have befriended Bankman-Fried. Brady and his wife recently took an equity stake in the company earlier this year as part of a long-term partnership.
Meanwhile, Kevin O’Leary, investor and co-host of Shark Tank, recently announced a new partnership with FTX. In the announcement, O’Leary and FTX spoke of a long-term investment and spokesperson relationship. It will center around an equity stake in both FTX Trading Ltd. and West Realm Shires Services Inc., as well as O’Leary acting as an ambassador for the exchange. FTX was valued at $18 billion in its most recent round of fund-raising.