The Goldens Bears’ stadium will now be called ‘FTX Field at Memorial Stadium,’ in a crypto deal that is either a trailblazing innovation, or a slush fund for future ransomware attacks.
Crypto bros will be even more un-’bear’-ably smug and mansplainy than usual today, as their form of alleged digital money has notched a new milestone. The Chronicle reports that UC Berkeley has struck a 10-year, $17.5 million stadium naming rights deal with a cryptocurrency exchange. The crypto exchange is called FTX, who already bought the naming rights to the Miami Heat arena earlier this year, and according to Cal Berkeley, this is the first ever cryptocurrency sponsorship of a college stadium name.
It's the cryptocurrency naming rights agreement for us 🤩🏟— Cal Athletics (@CalAthletics) August 23, 2021
Alongside @FTX_Official, we are excited to announce our naming rights agreement for FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium!
🔗| https://t.co/Re5kainxC0 pic.twitter.com/XNX3Rszheh
While the Chronicle reports this deal “will be paid for entirely in cryptocurrency,” and that is the hype that Elon apostles will want you to believe, the Mercury News clarifies “The agreement was brokered by Learfield, Cal’s multimedia rights partner,” and that “FTX will use cryptocurrency to pay Learfield, which will then make annual payments to Cal in cash.” So the university is getting actual money here, rather than a speculative form of blockchain astrology.
Cal signs sponsorship deal with crypto exchange: Get ready for FTX Field at Memorial Stadium https://t.co/4qxZYBjrr8— Mercury News (@mercnews) August 24, 2021
And this is a decent deal for Cal, as far as naming rights go for a 60,000-ish seat college stadium. Obviously pro teams pull down vastly more on naming rights deals, and there are a few bigger-money outliers in the college game, a look at various college stadium naming right deals shows that this is a solid market-rate arrangement for Cal.
There are other sweeteners in the deal too. FTX’s chief operating officer Sina Nader, whose tweet is seen above, used to play defensive end for Cal. Per the Merc, “FTX will provide support to Cal’s Cameron Institute for Student-Athlete Development. It also will donate $200,000 to fight homelessness in Berkeley.” And there is probably some degree of marketing value to a certain kind of student for a college to have the football stadium named after a form of cryptocurrency.
After years of studying it, I believe that cryptocurrency is an inherently right-wing, hyper-capitalistic technology built primarily to amplify the wealth of its proponents through a combination of tax avoidance, diminished regulatory oversight and artificially enforced scarcity.— Jackson Palmer (@ummjackson) July 14, 2021
But that very cultish quality of the crypto community is just part of why it’s so problematic. It’s a highly irresponsible driver of climate change, and given that ransomware crooks always demand it as a payment, one wonders if its discreet main purpose is just to enable crime. A million people have tried to explain cryptocurrency to me (you can guess their gender). But the only explanation that has ever made sense is Dogecoin founder Jackson Palmer’s epic thread seen above and below, where says its “controlled by a powerful cartel of wealthy figures” who leverage “a network of shady business connections, bought influencers and pay-for-play media outlets to perpetuate a cult-like 'get rich quick' funnel designed to extract new money from the financially desperate and naive.”
Lose your savings account password? Your fault.— Jackson Palmer (@ummjackson) July 14, 2021
Fall victim to a scam? Your fault.
Billionaires manipulating markets? They’re geniuses.
This is the type of dangerous “free for all” capitalism cryptocurrency was unfortunately architected to facilitate since its inception.
The Bears open their season Sept. 4 against Nevada at, sigh, FTX Field at Memorial Stadium.
Image: Kilfmuny via Wikimedia Commons