The good news is the University of California, Berkeley is getting $18 million, plus some scholarships, donations to its library and other stuff universities like to get from successful alumni donors. The bad news is they have to go around calling their football stadium "Kabam Field" for the next 15 years.
This isn't just some thing where it's Kabam Field at Memorial Stadium and nobody notices the Kabam part. That name—which belongs to a video game company founded by three Cal alumni—is going on the 50-yard line. And the two 25-yard lines, to boot. The San Francisco 49ers, who once played in "Monster Park," named for the HDMI cable ripoff artists and not Monster.com, as everyone thought at the time and still probably do, are officially off the hook for having the dumbest stadium name in the Bay Area.
You can hardly blame Kabam, a social game developer, for this. In fact, The New York Times reports that Cal went to them. The university hired a sports advisory firm to secure the naming rights, and this is the deal they came up with. It's another big branding win for the University of California system, which decided to update its logo in 2012 and came up with something that looked like a cheeto.
There's an overload of smarm about tradition, pageantry and all that bullshit attached to college football. But there's a reason it exists: Alumni have a direct association with the team; they graduated from the school, after all. All of these symbols in some way, represent them. And "Kabam Field" holds a Cal football fan out to be an arriviste buck-chasing goober, in addition to just being delusionally supportive of an an absolutely godawful team. The shit-factor coming from Stanford is exponential here.
This isn't silly because it's a games publisher sponsoring some stodgy old sport and a field that (in addition to having the Hayward Fault running goal-line to goal-line underneath) dates to 1928 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Kabam could feed starving children and develop free malaria vaccines. It's still a ridiculous name for a location, much less a building on the campus of a university. "Goin' to the Big Game?" "Yep! I got my tickets on the 50—at KABAM!" Barf.
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