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UC Berkeley’s $17M FTX Stadium Naming Deal Dead After Just 450 Days

Written by Kevin V. NguyenPublished Nov. 18, 2022 • 1:04pm
University of California Berkeley suspended its football stadium naming rights deal with FTX. The 10-year deal was signed in August 2021 for $17.5 million and saw the historic home of the Cal Bears football team rebranded to FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium. | Kilfmuny/Wikimedia/Creative Commons

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Add UC Berkeley to the latest list of those duped by FTX and its founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

On Thursday, the university’s athletic department quietly told The Standard it had suspended its football stadium naming rights deal with FTX. 

The 10 year deal was signed in August 2021 for $17.5 million and saw the historic home of the Cal Bears football team rebranded to “FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium.” 

The deal lasted just 450 days.

Cal’s football stadium is the latest in a series of aftershocks following the sudden collapse of FTX. Just a month ago, FTX was allegedly a thriving multibillion dollar cryptocurrency exchange.

Since the deal was to be paid entirely in cryptocurrency, The Standard asked Cal Athletics what that meant for the school. 

Many popular cryptocurrencies have plummeted in value in the wake of the FTX collapse, questions about if the school had lost or made any money from the deal were posed. 

“LEARFIELD’s Cal Bears Sports Properties, working in collaboration with Cal Athletics, has suspended the FTX naming rights sponsorship with Cal Athletics,” said Interim Associate Athletics Director Jonathan Okanes.

Underneath FTX’s glossy surface as one of the most valuable companies in the world was a brewing financial disaster. The company was actually drowning in debt and $1 billion in customer funds are now reportedly missing

The swift collapse kicked off when a rival exchange said it would sell its holdings in FTX, citing concerns about an unethical and problematic relationship between FTX and Alameda Research, a trading firm also founded by Bankman-Fried.

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In a world where digital currencies can feel alien to most, a major telltale sign of the collapse came when huge venture capital investors wrote off their entire investments. Sequoia Capital, who had invested over $200 million at valuations between $18 billion and $25 billion, announced its investment was now worthless.

Days later, Bankman-Fried resigned and FTX filed for bankruptcy.

As of publication, mentions of FTX have still not been removed from Cal’s website. But videos online show that the logo has been scrubbed off of the field.

Screenshot of Calbears.com taken on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022

Here are some investors that bought into FTX.

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Kevin V. Nguyen can be reached at [email protected]


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