Cal Athletics, FTX Unveil 10-Year Landmark Relationship
BERKELEY – Cal Athletics and its multimedia rightsholder, LEARFIELD's Cal Bears Sports Properties, and West Realm Shires Services Inc., owners and operators of FTX.US ("FTX"), a leading U.S.-regulated cryptocurrency exchange, announced Monday the first-ever collegiate cryptocurrency naming rights sponsorship. As part of the $17.5 million deal, LEARFIELD will accept the full payment in cryptocurrency on behalf of the university.
Through this historic, 10-year agreement, FTX receives naming rights to the field at California Memorial Stadium, which will be known as FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium.
"We believe we have found a great partner in FTX," Cal Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said. "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."
Through their new relationship, 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.
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.
Nader commented on the agreement, "We're excited to partner with one of the world's great universities and expand crypto's presence into the collegiate athletics landscape. 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. "
"This is a landmark agreement in many respects, including payment in cryptocurrency," said Andy McDowell, vice president and general manager for LEARFIELD's Cal Bears Sports Properties. "This was a true collaboration allowing us to thoughtfully navigate an emerging category with a wide reach beyond just athletics. We worked closely with Cal Athletics in bringing this FTX relationship to life, in an effort to support a historic stadium and to touch the entire campus community."
In addition to field-naming rights, the relationship between Cal Athletics and FTX will feature 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.
The Bears' first game at the newly named FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium is slated for Saturday, Sept. 4, when Cal hosts Nevada.
FTX.US is a U.S.-regulated cryptocurrency exchange, built from the ground up with customers in mind. Its mission is to grow the digital currency ecosystem, offer US and international traders a platform that inspires their loyalty, and to become the leading US crypto exchange by volume within the next two years.
About Cal Athletics
Founded in 1868, the University of California's flagship campus at Berkeley is one of the top-ranked universities in the world with 31 Nobel Prizes held by UC Berkeley alumni and offering more than 350 degree programs. Cal Athletics supports 850 student-athletes in 30 sports, and has as its mission: To Educate, Compete, Serve and Excel … Developing Leaders of Tomorrow. Cal teams have earns 98 national championships in 15 different sports, and Golden Bears have collected 223 medals at the Olympic Games.
LEARFIELD is a leading media and technology services company in intercollegiate athletics. The company unlocks the value of sports for brands and fans through an omnichannel platform with innovative content and commerce solutions. LEARFIELD services includes licensing and multimedia sponsorship management; publishing, audio, digital and social media; data analytics; ticketing, ticket sales and professional concessions expertise; branding; campus-wide business and sponsorship development; and venue technology systems. Since 2008, it has served as title sponsor for the acclaimed LEARFIELD Directors' Cup, supporting athletic departments across all divisions.