The sports industry is estimated to be worth over $500 billion, ranging from sponsorships and merchandizing, to TV distribution, ticketing, and advertising.
Sports also happens to be one of the biggest avenues for marketing. Flush with cash from the recent bull run, crypto firms are increasingly pursuing this direction in a quest to reach as many people as possible.
Not only are they working with leagues and teams, they are also seeking endorsements with stars in basketball, baseball, soccer, and other sports.
Here is a look at 2 crypto exchange brands taking this direction and just how massive and lucrative some of these deals actually are.
This past week, the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) announced a sponsorship by the crypto exchange platform, Crypto.com.
Under the deal, Crypto.com has become the kit and cryptocurrency partner of the UFC. This means the brand will have placements on UFC fighter kits, and the brand is expected to be featured in fight events.
The deal is reportedly worth $175 million and will last for ten years, making it the largest sponsorship in the history of the combat sports organization. Before this, Crypto.com also had a separate sponsorship with formula one team Aston Martin Cognizant.
Less than a week before the UFC deal, Formula One had announced a partnership with the cryptocurrency exchange. In the deal, Crypto.com becomes the global partner of a new formula one race format called Sprint, and will also have slots alongside the track for the remaining races of the season.
The deal is reportedly worth $100 million and will last 5 years.
Crypto.com also signed a deal with a Canadian hockey team, Montreal Canadiens, in Canada’s National Hockey League. In an undisclosed deal, Crpyto.com will have its logo displayed at the ‘center ice.’
In May 2021, the exchange sponsored the finals of the Coppa Italia league, which featured Atalanta and Juventus.
FTX is yet another exchange making an even bigger splash.
The exchange signed a 19-year $135 million naming rights agreement for the stadium/arena belonging to NBA team Miami Heat. Under the agreement, on 4 June 2021, the former American AirlinesArena changed names to FTX Arena.
FTX also has another naming rights agreement with e-sports franchise Team Solomid. The name changed to TSM FTX.
FTX has yet another multi-year deal to become the official cryptocurrency exchange for Major League Baseball (MLB). A group rights deal with MLB players also lets FTX to use player highlights in its marketing content.
The MLB deal will also see umpires wear FTX patches on their uniforms. In the NFL (National Football League), the number 1 overall draft pick also signed a multi-million multi-year endorsement deal with Blockfolio which is a separate service belonging to FTX.
It is reported that the player of Jacksonville Jaguars also took payment in different kinds of cryptocurrencies.
Perhaps the most interesting sponsorship involving FTX is a deal with Tom Brady, a quarterback for Tampa Bay Bucaneers, together with his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen.
Under the deal, they are brand ambassadors to promote FTX in exchange for a share of the company, and an undisclosed amount of cryptocurrencies.
Tom Brady and wife Gisele both have a combined following of close to 7 million followers on Twitter, and close to 30 million followers on Instagram.
In 2019, Dapper Labs, makers of the popular CryptoKitties, signed an agreement with the NBA to create Top Shots, a NFTs out-of-game highlights. NBA Top Shots is one of the most successful NFT marketplaces with one Lebron James highlight recently getting purchased for $200,000.
Today the total NBA Top Shorts NFT sales are nearly $650 million.
Top Shots showcased the potential that can exist when sports and crypto interact and this is likely going to be replicated by both FTX and Crypto.com with the above massive deals as crypto enters the mainstream sports world.