UC Berkeley Cancels FTX Stadium Naming Partnership

The FTX name will have been attached to the University of California Berkeley’s football stadium for less than two years — rather than the 10 years the two parties had agreed to. 

The university has suspended the deal following the cryptocurrency exchange’s filing for bankruptcy protection, CoinDesk reported Thursday (Nov. 17), citing an unnamed representative of the athletic department. 

The sponsorship deal was signed in August 2021, totaled $17.5 million and was paid in crypto. It gave the stadium the name FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium, according to the report. 

As of Thursday, the FTX logo had been removed from the football field, but it still appeared on the athletic department’s website, the report said. 

In a statement provided to PYMNTS, Cal Athletics said: “Learfield’s Cal Bears Sports Properties, working in collaboration with Cal Athletics, has suspended the FTX naming rights sponsorship with Cal Athletics.” 

As PYMNTS reported in February, sponsorship consulting firm IEG said at the time that the amount North American companies in the crypto industry were spending on sports sponsorships could amount to over $160 million — more than the amount spent by airlines, quick-service restaurants, and wine and spirits companies. 

By September, some sports sponsorship deals had gone south as the crypto sector had been taking a dive that had already lasted months. 

Still, the sports sector was hanging on to sponsorships from companies in the crypto sector even if some of the bigger names in digital assets had pulled out of deals and the cryptocurrency fallout had triggered a wave of repercussions across multiple industries. 

The news from UC Berkeley comes on the same day that John J. Ray — who was appointed CEO of FTX last week as part of the crypto exchange’s bankruptcy proceedings — said he’s never seen a company as badly run as FTX.