California Memorial Stadium, Cal Berkeley's football colosseum, will get a name change, at least for the next decade and a half. A 15 year long, $18M deal between the school and mobile game publisher Kabam will see the stadium renamed, "Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium."
According to Cal, this mouthful of a name marks the largest field-naming rights deal in US college sports history. College football is such a racket. It is the unpaid internships of sports.
Incidentally, that $18 million over 15 years is nothing compared to the $445 million debt the school is carrying (and struggling to pay) for the recent, huge stadium renovation. In fact, the school is paying $18 million yearly just on the interest. Meanwhile, Kabam is expected to surpass $300 million in revenue in 2013.
Re-branding such an iconic stadium feels a bit dirty in and of itself, like when people thought we'd call Candlestick anything other than Candlestick, but it's so bizarre to me to see a mobile game publisher nailing down high publicity naming rights.