Sports Means Crypto
...and American sports get their first gambling sponsor
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It’s another week of news in which crypto and sports partnerships steal the show.
Yesterday, FTX Trading announced a long-term relationship with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team. This relationship will span multiple race seasons, with the FTX logo being featured prominently on both the cars and the drivers.
Part of the FTX branding will be unveiled during the upcoming Russian Grand Prix, which is scheduled for this coming Sunday, September 26th, and will continue to expand leading up to the start of the 2022 season.
In June, crypto exchange, Crypto.com struck a 5-year, $100 million sponsorship with Formula One that included a new award, the Overtake Award — given to the driver with the most overtakes at the end of the season.
Crypto.com branding can be seen on tracks, while FTX branding is evident in Mercedes cockpit camera shots.
It doesn’t end there for crypto sponsorships.
Crypto.com recently landed partnerships with Formula 1, UFC, NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, Paris Saint-Germain F.C., as well as F1’s Aston Martin Cognizant.
Their first sponsorship with an NBA team came via jersey patch on the Philadelphia 76’ers jerseys.
To date, Crypto.com has signed over $400 million in sports deals.
Crypto brands are spending big money to reach the massive audiences that only sports and mainstream events provide. And they’ve got plenty of money from investors.
And the struggle these crypto brands face right now is reaching those mainstream audiences.
A study Crypto.com conducted in July found that total global crypto users have doubled year-over-year from 106 million to 221 million. Yet, only a tiny piece of those are the company’s customers.
In September, FTX announced a $20 million ad campaign starring football legend Tom Brady and his wife, the model, and businesswoman Gisele Bündchen.
Just like Crypto.com, FTX is in a position to sponsor a range of leagues and teams — quickly.
FTX.US President Brett Harrison has said, “If we just stop at one deal and we’ll wait and see how it does and wait to see how that does before doing another one, the best opportunities might be gone.”
These aren’t the only deals, and they’re surely not the last crypto deals in sports. I fully expect them to keep coming.
Platforms like Socios are helping teams like Barcelona, Juventus, Roma, Inter, Sauber, and PSG create value within their fan bases by offering special coins that allow fans benefits like access to tickets, or events, and even voting on certain team decisions.
Fans that want to buy tokens of their team first purchase Socios’ Chiliz ($CHZ) coin. These coins can be purchased with a Visa or MasterCard, allowing for more mainstream adoption.
Fan tokens can certainly generate revenue for teams but also generate loyalty amongst a fan base. Sports fans often feel very disconnected from decisions their teams make, and fan tokens can help alleviate some of those feelings.
Keep on the lookout for this space. It is quite possibly the easiest thing a team can do to give fans what they’ve always wanted.
Other crypto-sports deals that have come through include:
XBTO sponsoring MLS’ Inter Miami
Learncrypto.com sponsoring English Premier League’s Southampton
FTX sponsoring MLB —a five-year deal
Crypto.com has paid to become the official cryptocurrency exchange and technology sponsor of Italy’s Serie A soccer league.
The NBA’s Miami Heat now play home games at the FTX Arena.
And there have been crypto and blockchain sponsorships and partnerships in the works for years now:
In December 2014, crypto payment processor BitPay signed a sponsorship deal with ESPN Events. This was one of the first-ever crypto marketing initiatives. The payment processor also sponsored the St. Petersburg Bowl.
Arsenal Football Club inked a crypto-sponsorship deal with CashBet in 2018, making the crypto project the club’s exclusive and official blockchain partner. In the same year, Litecoin became the official crypto partner of UFC, sponsoring the Light Heavyweight title fight between Alexander Gustafsson and Jon Jones.
In 2018, Turkish football club Harunustaspor became the world’s first football team to purchase a player with Bitcoin. The 22-year old player, Omar Faruk Kiroglu, received 0.0524 in Bitcoin (£385) and ₺2,500 (£470) as part of his deal with the football club. Meanwhile, in January, former Real Madrid graduate and Levante striker David Barral signed with Segunda B side DUX Internacional de Madrid on a crypto-only deal.
National Football League player Russell Okung finally got his wish of being paid in Bitcoin granted in 2020 after tweeting about it a year earlier.
More recently, TFA Worldwide Association is bringing another exciting twist to both industries. The blockchain project is “sharing the digital wealth of the worldwide football community with its participants.” Its robust ecosystem features an app (Thefutbol app), a token (TFC), a meme coin (PANDA), and NFTs.
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