The link between marketable online organizations and sports has grown exponentially in recent years as global corporate giants invest big in worldwide sports teams and televisual broadcasts with the aim of bringing their brand to a new platform and an ever more increasing audience share. Now it seems cryptocurrencies have seen the huge potential sports sponsorships can bring for their business.
Digital currencies can be used in two main ways. Firstly, as digital or virtual assets that can be traded and used to pay for things – you may think of these assets (or “tokens”) as a replacement for conventional money. Secondly, and the far more lucrative way of using digital currencies, users can treat them as an investment to buy, sell and trade – it is this continued trading of digital assets which is the real money-maker for all involved and crypto companies are constantly on the lookout to grow their investor base for ever-increasing margins. When you look at the statistics behind sports, particularly televised sports, it is no wonder they are looking to this method to win big.
According to new research by global data intelligence organization, Morning Consult, sports fans are twice as likely to know crypto than those who do not follow sports, and with sports teams in urgent need of investment after the last 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic severely affected revenue streams it makes sense for them to welcome big investment from the cryptocurrency brands that have largely had a successful time of things over the same period. The crypto giants like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin would equally welcome more and more investors as a quick way of ramping up the price of their stock – with benefits going both ways it is certainly no surprise to read that digital currency is the fastest-growing sponsorship category in sports at the moment.
The figures from the poll make for appetising reading for the crypto companies, with 47% of sports fans saying they are familiar with the crypto and as much as 27% even said they currently own digital assets. Furthermore, the familiarity with crypto is the case for 66% of those sports fans who describe themselves as “avid” and a massive 72% (that’s two out of every three people) of sports bettors. Another survey, carried out by GamCare found that 50% of regular bettors have participated in the trading of crypto compared with only 3% of the general population.
With sports fanbases totalling hundreds of millions and with those fanbases already being more aware of digital currencies in general, the companies will be eager to see a massive influx of new investors step up from merely using the Best Bitcoin Sportsbooks to bet to becoming more involved in the day-to-day trading of their assets. This is why commercial deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars are being struck in a bid to target a huge market of potential new traders.
FTX have recently announced partnership deals totaling more than $360 million across basketball, baseball, and eSports with their logo to be adorned on the uniforms of MLB umpires and the Miami Heat now playing their home NBA games at the FTX Arena. Meanwhile, Crypto.com signed huge sponsorship deals with UFC ($17.5m per year) and Formula 1 ($20m per year) and is also the official cryptocurrency exchange and technology sponsor of Serie A – the premier soccer league of Italy.
Sponsorship deals have also been struck across individual sports teams and even individual athletes such as Montreal Canadiens in the NHL (Crypto.com), NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers (StormX) and the new David Beckham MLS franchise Inter Miami CF (XBTO). Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and the greatest quarterback Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed to FTX whilst Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence has signed to Blockfolio who will be delighted to have organized a deal with the top pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Meanwhile, Bitcoin looks set to record a record-breaking monthly close which could prompt more sports organizations to come to the table for a piece of the pie.
The link between digital currencies and sports does not stop at sponsorship deals, however. The idea behind “fan tokens” is cryptocurrencies being used as a method for sports clubs to increase digital engagement with fans, especially in a post-pandemic world of socially distanced fan engagement via massive online content. Fan tokens could be considered as “crypto assets” and their holders would access exclusive online content about their favourite sports team and the leader of the market with this method is Socios.com which sells tokens for more than 50 different teams and sports including UFC, Chicago Bulls and FC Barcelona. The value of those tokens fluctuates with demand which means the greater the investor base the more lucrative these assets are.
With huge brand exposure in live and especially televised sporting events, the compatibility between sports and social media in a post-pandemic age, and the financial benefit associated with that brand power to both parties in a deal between digital currency operators and sports organizations, clubs and athletes, it is no surprise to see digital currency companies investing huge sums of money. The huge rise of cryptocurrencies in recent years has generated a level of excitement that has transferred over into sport, and the currencies themselves can see unlimited opportunities for long-term returns in their investment in the form of an ever-expanding investor base coming to their platforms.