Mobile game publisher Kabam is going to make its mark in corporate branding today by putting its name on the football field at the University of California at Berkeley’s Memorial Stadium.
That’s a big milestone for a mobile game company, as Kabam has grown big enough to actually care about its corporate branding and recognition among gamers. The new name will be Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium. (It’s also one of the few bright spots in a putrid 1-11 season that saw the Golden Bears go winless in Pacific-12 conference play.)
The studio is paying $18 million over 15 years for the naming rights, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. (Kabam confirms that). Cal claims this is the largest field naming-rights deal in U.S. college sports history. Sports marketing company Premier Partnerships put together the deal.
Kevin Chou, chief executive of Kabam, spoke about the deal at the Game Monetization USA conference today.
He said, “We have such a strong ties to Cal. The original business plan, for doing social networking, was created in a Cal classroom. It wasn’t the game company. But of the four co-founders, three of us went to Cal and that’s how we go to know each other.”
When Kabam had just 25 employees, many of the crew came from Cal, and about 10 percent of the new hires today come from Berkeley. Berkeley officials approached Kabam as they were looking for a sponsors for the stadium, as the state was cutting educational funding.
“At first, we said it sounds crazy. But they came to us and said here is the profile of the kind of company they are looking for. It is their first corporate sponsorship ever,” Chou said. “The state is cutting funding, and that’s horrible. We felt we got so much out of Cal that it was a great way to give back. We’ll do guest lectures. We’ll have a scholarship.”
Cal will officially announce the deal at a press conference held at Memorial Stadium today at 1 p.m. Pacific.
San Francisco-based Kabam estimates it will surpass $300 million in revenue in 2013. It has more than 700 employees. Kabam’s investors include Google, Warner Bros., MGM, Intel, Canaan Partners, Redpoint Ventures, and Pinnacle Ventures.