The University of California, Berkeley, has signed a contract with the owner of the crypto exchange FTX.US for the naming rights of $ 17.5 million for its soccer field – and is paid for it in cryptocurrency.
Cal’s athletics division announced the 10-year deal as part of the first sponsorship for crypto naming rights in the NCAA on Monday. FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium will see its first game on September 4th when the Golden Bears play Nevada in their season opener.
“We believe we have found a great partner in FTX,” said Jim Knowlton, director of Cal Athletic, in a statement, noting that the deal is “part of our strategic revenue diversification plan.”
As part of the agreement, FTX will support Cals’ Cameron Institute for Student-Athlete Development and provide $ 200,000 to help Berkeley’s homeless population and underrepresented students.
“We are excited to partner with one of the greatest universities in the world and expand the presence of crypto in the college athletics landscape,” said Sina Nader, chief operating officer of FTX.US, who played soccer at Cal, in a statement. “This historic partnership will also enable us to work together on nonprofit initiatives that align with the core values of our organization.”
The university is still paying sizable debt on a $ 321 million stadium renovation project that completed in 2012.
FTX, which is part of West Realm Shires Services, also has a sponsorship deal with Major League Baseball umpires who wear the company logo on their uniforms. Earlier this summer, NFL star Tom Brady and his wife, model Gisele Bundchen, acquired shares in FTX.
FTX was valued at approximately $ 18 billion in its most recent funding round.