- Crypto has seen fast adoption throughout the sports world.
- High-profile sponsorships are giving crypto companies mainstream exposure.
- Crypto assets like NFTs and fan tokens are creating new value for sports organizations.
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Sports and crypto may seem like two unrelated worlds, but they have much to offer each other under closer inspection.
Crypto Exposure Through Sponsorships
In 2014, Bitcoin payment provider Bitpay signed on with ESPN to sponsor a college football game, the St. Petersburg Bowl. Although minor, it marked a significant milestone as the first major crypto sports deal. This year, crypto made it to the NFL as the New York Giants became the league’s first team with a crypto sponsorship, partnering with Grayscale Investments.
The Giants announce a partnership with Grayscale Investments®. @Grayscale is the first cryptocurrency partner of an NFL team!
— New York Giants (@Giants) May 5, 2021
While football started the trend of crypto sponsorships in 2021, it’s tough to find a sports league without some connection to crypto. NBA team Portland Trail Blazers recently announced a partnership with crypto cashback app StormX. Earlier in the year, Miami HEAT signed an exclusive naming rights deal with crypto exchange FTX, renaming its home stadium the “FTX Arena.” The 19-year deal was worth a massive $135 million. Following this, FTX signed the biggest sports sponsorship in crypto to date when it partnered with Major League Baseball in a five-year deal on Jun. 23.
Those involved in sponsorship deals see a lot of potential in marketing crypto services to sports fans. Commenting on the deal with FTX, MLB Chief Revenue Officer Noah Garden said:
“Our fans have been early adopters in using new technologies to engage with our game.”
Crypto exchanges and payment providers have made up the bulk of sports sponsorships, highlighting substantial crossover…