By Jeff Faraudo
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 at 3:37 pm in Football.
Cal will announce a 15-year naming rights deal for the field at Memorial Stadium in a Thursday press conference, according to the firm that brokered the deal.
A Bay Area-based corporate sponsor with ties to Cal is on board, said Jesse Ryback, director of business development for Premier Partnerships.
UPDATE: The New York Times reported Wednesday night that the naming rights have gone to a mobile video game maker, which will pay Cal $18 million over 15 years for the playing surface to be called Kabam Field.
Earlier, Ryback identified the partner as a non-traditional sponsor, similar to the deal his company arranged with the O.co Coliseum in Oakland.
Cal confirmed Wednesday night it will host a news conference Thursday afternoon at Memorial Stadium with the purpose of announcing “a long-term field naming rights partnership.”
According to the NY Times story, Kabam will get its name on the two 25-yard lines at Cal, and signage on the 50-yard line.
Kevin Chou, Kabam’s co-founder and chief executive, is a Cal alumnus, as are two of the other four co-founders, the NY Times reported.
“It will be the most significant naming rights for a field to date for a college venue,” Ryback said, stressing that the field sponsorship won’t alter the traditional Memorial Stadium name.
“We’d be shocked if it wasn’t replicated by a number of universities across the country to unlock revenue,” he said.
Kabam, which makes “Kingdoms of Camelot” and “The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age,” will also be establishing a scholarship program, library donations, internships, as well as executive exchanges, an “innovation lab” for developing projects, and an interactive gaming zone at the stadium, the NY Times story said.
Ryback said Cal hired Premier Partnerships last February and his firm, with offices in Los Angeles and New York, identified high-level prospective partners.
“It’s a great fit all-around. We’re really excited about it,” Ryback said.
The news could be significant to Cal, which faces a $474 million, long-term debt to pay off renovations and earthquake retrofit work at Memorial Stadium along with the year-old Simpson Center high-performance training center.