Social game dev Kabam pays $18 million to re-name field at California stadium

Playing area at Memorial Stadium will be known as "Kabam Field" for the next 15 years as part of first of its kind deal for the university.

Image Credit: Brant Ward/The Chronicle

California University announced today that Kabam, the social game developer behind a pair of The Hobbit games, has won the naming rights to the field at the school's Memorial Stadium. Beginning in 2014, the field itself will be known as "Kabam Field" thanks to a 15-year, $18-million deal Kabam and the University agreed to this week.

As part of the arrangement, reported by The New York Times, Kabam's name will be featured on the two 25-year lines, as well as the 50-yard mid-field line. The deal is described as the first of its kind for the university and perhaps the first time a gaming company has paid to put its name on a college field.

Kabam will also establish a scholarship program as part of the deal, and provide donations to Cal's library system, as well as internships, executive exchanges, an "innovation lab," and an interactive gaming space at the stadium itself.

CEO and cofounder of Kabam, Kevin Chou, graduated from Cal, as did two other cofounders. Kabam hired sports advisory firm Premiere Partnerships to broker the deal to obtain the naming rights.

It's not the first time, of course, a company has won naming rights for an athletic field or stadium. In the college space, Wake Forest's BB&T Stadium is named after the local bank, while heating and air conditioning company Carrier has its name on Syracuse's Carrier Dome.

In professional sports, Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays play at Tropicana Field, named after the popular juice company. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants' home field is AT&T Park.

Cal's football season ended in November after the team posted a woeful 1-11 record. However, perhaps more relevant to the Kabam deal, nearly all of its games were televised.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

24 comments
conorhat
conorhat

I've never even heard of them before. You said they made a Hobbit game? Strange.

SeiKN
SeiKN

Charity?... Nahh, i'll just waste 18 Million on a stadium name!

X-RS
X-RS

A game developer that lasts 15 years1?...made in 06...

theKSMM
theKSMM

I'm actually surprised that the winning bid was so low.  $18M is a paltry sum for letting somebody else choose what your name will be for 15 years... but it might be right for a small-name college.

Mojira7
Mojira7

Not a big fan of microtransacttions myself, but I have to face reality. This type of story, with a company I've never heard of able to throw $18 Million on a name, tells me means the microtransaction model is truly here to stay and no amount of internet hate comments have the power to stop it. Seriously 18 million! Imagine how much other companies thet use microtransactions are making and put that all together. Good for them actually.. especially in these trying economic times..



Stiler
Stiler

Am I the only one that wishes sports stadiums (football, baseball fields, etc) wouldn't allow this kind of sponsership? 


I mean it loses the point of the game and the impact of playing at those iconic places. 

Not to mention all the adertising creates an eye sore to most people and players. 

Why would it be so bad to have stadiums keep themselves afloat from selling tickets/food, etc? They make quit ea bit off those already.

BamaGoatt
BamaGoatt

Also coming to this new stadium micro-transactions leave your seat for anything it permanently locks itself until you swipe your card to gain access to the seat you already paid for kabam!

brockelley
brockelley

The fact that this has been brought up by more than 10 video game news outlets today is proof that this advertisement has worked already.. not to mention the hundreds of millions of people that will see and hear that name and think of that company every time it's uttered or read

Butt_Chunx
Butt_Chunx

Why would anyone waste 18 million dollars to rename a stadium? If I had 18 million dollars, I could retire and live off of the interest. Sports is a stupid thing for anyone to waste money on.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

Advertising is the most obnoxiously overvalued commodity that there is.  Stop destroying arena names.  I can't stand it when I see stupid nonsense like the Quicken Loans Arena, KFC Yum! Arena, EnergySolutions Arena... etc.  We used to have this awesome arena in Toronto called the SkyDome.  How cool of a name is that?  Now it's the Rogers Centre... and to make it even worse, they make a statue of the founder of Rogers and put it in front of the arena.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Garbage mobile and social dev company....I'm sorry for Cal fans that this is on their stadium.

surrealme
surrealme

If throwing away huge sums of money on vanity is how Kabam spends their money, they'll be long gone before their 15 years are up.

Primeyuri
Primeyuri

How does a company that makes games I never heard of have enough money to spend it on this kind of ****

The_Gaming_Baby
The_Gaming_Baby

As a video game fan, I can honestly say that I don't care a shit

BamaGoatt
BamaGoatt

@Mojira7 sad but true not all mt's are game killers but the majority are. I can live with the gt6 model of buying credits although I won't be buying them myself.

SeiKN
SeiKN

Games could cost $20 instead of $60 and they would still make money, that's how!

Poodlejumper
Poodlejumper

@Primeyuri They're called "casual gamers" and when they say they "like video games" but have no idea who Sam Fisher, Minsc, or Samus Aran are  I really can't put the pain in my soul into words.