UC Berkeley and Kabam, a mobile gaming company co-founded by Haas undergraduate alumnus Kevin Chou, BS 02, announced a long-term partnership that includes the naming rights to the field at California Memorial Stadium.
The partnership also includes a scholarship program, an internship program, speaking engagements, and other partnerships on campus around innovation and technology.
Starting in 2014, the field will be known as “Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium.” The agreement between Cal and Kabam does not change the name of the stadium; it will forever be recognized as California Memorial Stadium. The 15-year contract is valued at almost $18 million.
“We jumped at the opportunity to partner with Cal on naming the field at California Memorial Stadium and creating significant educational and innovation programs that benefit students, veterans and the community at large,” says Chou, CEO of Kabam. “We love the opportunity to create a unique athletic and academic partnership that honors Kabam’s roots to Cal and ties to the continuous improvement of UC Berkeley.”
As part of the partnership, Kabam will establish a scholarship program to benefit Cal students who have demonstrated academic excellence and are interested in disruptive technology. Additionally, Cal Athletics will donate $25,000 to the University Library annually to help maintain its status as the No. 1 public research library in North America.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank Kabam for entering into this new and exciting partnership with Cal,” UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said. “I especially want to recognize the members of Kabam's leadership team who earned their degrees from Berkeley—and like so many of our alumni have demonstrated a true commitment to giving back to our campus.”
Kabam was recently named the fastest growing Internet media company in the Bay Area for the second consecutive year, and 17th fastest growing company overall in the U.S. in Deloitte’s 2013 Technology Fast 500. Over time Kabam will create an interactive gaming zone for fans at the stadium along with the scholarship program, internship program, and other partnerships on campus around innovation and technology. Additionally, upon invitation from Cal faculty, Kabam executives will also participate as guest lecturers in graduate and undergraduate Cal classes.
Three of Kabam’s four co-founders and nearly 10 percent of the company’s employees headquartered in San Francisco are Cal alumni. Kabam co-founder Mike Li, BS 01 (EECS), wrote the business plan that became the genesis for Kabam when he was a student in a Cal engineering class on entrepreneurship. Li, now general manager of Kabam’s 140-employee studio in Beijing, met Chou through mutual Cal acquaintances when Chou was a Silicon Valley venture capitalist. Li and Chou, together with Kabam Chief of Staff Holly Liu, who earned a master’s in information management and systems from Cal in 2003), co-founded the company in 2006.
The founders changed the business model to a games company and renamed it Kabam in late 2010. Since then, Kabam has grown to more to more than 650 employees with more than $325 million in annual revenue in less than four years.
With a value of nearly $1.2 million per year over the lifetime of the agreement, the Cal-Kabam partnership is the largest field naming rights deal in collegiate sports.