UC-Berkeley Suspends Stadium Naming Rights Deal with FTX
The University of California Berkeley has suspended its stadium naming rights deal with FTX, a representative of the athletic department confirmed in a statement to CoinDesk.
The deal was originally planned for 10 years and lasted just 450 days. The sponsorship was inked in Aug. 2021 for $17.5 million and was paid entirely in cryptocurrency, and was the exchange’s first partnership in the world of college athletics.
A UC Berkeley spokesperson declined to comment on which cryptocurrencies were a part of the deal. The end of the partnership comes on the heels of FTX’s bankruptcy filing submitted last week.
While FTX branding has been removed from the sidelines of the school’s football field, its logo remains prominently on the front page of the athletic department’s website.
The crypto exchange, which spent heavily on sports-related partnerships in the past two years, has seen several of its sponsorship deals fall through in the wake of its collapse, including its 19-year, $135 million stadium naming rights deal with the National Basketball Association’s Miami Heat and $210 million esports partnership with gaming brand TSM.
Earlier this week, videos of a grounds crew wiping the FTX branding from its football field made the rounds on Twitter, indicating movements to remove the partnership had begun before the school’s official statement.
On Nov. 11, a representative from the school’s athletic department called FTX “a great partner for Cal Athletics,” saying it was closely monitoring the situation.