ViaBTC|Crypto Companies are “Infiltrating” the World’s Major Sports Events

Since the beginning of 2021, cryptos have got increasingly closer with the sports community. As cooperation between the two yields great results, sports have become the new craze among crypto-related companies. From the four major US sports leagues (NFL, MBL, NBA, and NHL) through UFC and F1 to e-sports, we see crypto companies taking action. The mainstream sports events are being “infiltrated” by cryptos.

Join hands with sports stars

FTX, a crypto exchange that spent heavily on sports marketing, has hired the legendary NFL quarterback Tom Brady and NBA player Stephen Curry as its brand ambassadors. Coinbase, the rival of FTX, also invited Kevin Durant, another NBA star, to endorse its brand.

Offer sponsorship & Grab naming rights

Having gained the upper hand, FTX not only signed brand ambassadors but also partnered up with MLB as its official sponsor, and FTX’s logo will appear on the uniforms of MLB referees. In addition, FTX has also bought the naming rights to the home arena of NBA team Miami Heat and renamed American Airlines Arena to “FTX Arena”. In the field of e-sports, FTX spent $210 million for the naming rights to Team SoloMid (now TSM FTX) and sponsored the League of Legends tournament of Riot Games.

FTX logo on MLB referee uniform

As FTX actively sponsors a wide range of sports events, Coinbase, its major competitor, announced a series of cooperation with the NBA and will become the exclusive crypto partner of NBA, WNBA, and NBA Development League.

Crypto.com won the naming rights to the Staples Center Arena in Los Angeles (to be renamed CRYPTO Arena) in a 20-year deal worth more than $700 million. Apart from this, the exchange also made many moves in the field of sports marketing, with partners that include Serie A, UFC (a 10-year deal worth $175 million), F1 (a 5-year deal worth $100 million), NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, and NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers (a 6-year deal worth more than $400 million).

The rebranded Crypto.com Arena

Embrace crypto payment

Back in 2018, Spencer Dinwiddie, an NBA player signed a 3-year, $34 million contract when he was still playing for the Brooklyn Nets. At the time, he proposed to convert part of his contracted salary into Bitcoin. Although the Nets initially rejected him, the proposal was finally approved after months of discussions with the NBA. This decision also increased his salary by several times, making him one of the best investors among NBA players.

Following Spencer Dinwiddie, Russell Okun became the first NFL player partially paid with Bitcoin, which accounted for $6.5 million of his salary. Soon afterward, Sean Culkin, an NFL tight end, also said that he will take the 2021 NFL salary ($920,000) in Bitcoin.

Earlier, Mark Cuban, the owner of Dallas Mavericks, said: “The Mavericks have decided to accept Dogecoin as payment for Mavs tickets and merchandise.” This decision has received enthusiastic support from Mavs fans.

Why are crypto companies focusing on the sports community?

The sports industry, the backbone of the entertainment economy, has long been regarded as an essential part of brand marketing strategies by big corporations. For decades, the industry has impressed the world with massive returns. For instance, SAFECO Insurance, headquartered in Seattle, won instant fame in 1997 when it bought the naming rights to the Seattle Mariners’ baseball stadium. In 2013, Huawei inked a sponsorship deal with AC Milan football club, which sent its sales record soaring in the European market. Countless big brands have achieved great success in sports marketing, and the crypto giants surely will not miss the chance.

Right now, StormX, a crypto company, has reached an agreement with the Portland Trail Blazers, an NBA team, for its jersey sponsorship. From the four major US sports leagues to European football stadiums to e-sports, crypto exchanges including FTM, Coinbase, and Crypto.com are making quicker moves to grab naming rights amidst a boom of sports sponsorship. In 2022, fans around the world will definitely see the name of crypto companies at more sports venues.

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