Sponsor Insights

FTX’s Fall Presents Prime Endorsement Opportunities

For those curious about  the recent news regarding FTX’s fall from grace and its potential impact on Crypto sponsorships, here’s a real-time breakout of the total crypto sponsorship market. 

SponsorUnited tracked 311 crypto brands with sponsorships worldwide, of which FTX had an 11% share of total deals.

A few other insights:

  • 7% of crypto brands have more than 5 sponsorship deals, dominated by the top 10 in the graphic below. Meanwhile, 74% of brands have just 1 deal.
  • Despite the high profile partnerships, 79% of major pro sports teams in the NBA/NFL/MLB/MLS/MLB do NOT have a crypto sponsorship deal.
  • Of the 21% of deals done in those leagues, the most frequently purchased assets were:

1) Social media posts
2) TV-visible signage
3) IP Rights/use of marks
4) Event content/activation

FTX inked over 80 high-profile sponsorships over the last year, including a venue naming rights deal with the Miami Heat, as well as the first-ever umpire patch in Major League Baseball. With the recent news of the company’s stunning implosion, many properties will start searching for a replacement sponsor for some of the high-level assets mentioned above. Besides the teams and leagues that inked deals with FTX, a slew of star athletes also partnered with the cryptocurrency platform–including Stephen Curry, Tom Brady, Shohei Ohtani, and Shaquille O’Neal–and were featured in FTX-produced commercials and campaigns. 

April Brand Power Rankings

The year of Cryptocurrency continues in the sponsorship world as numerous new deals continue to get signed. Nearly 30% of the top 30 most searched brands on the SponsorUnited platform continued to be from the Crypto category. From the #2805 spot to #1 spot, Coinmotion was in motion last month and in the news recently due to their involvement with Bitcoin donations to Ukraine. With sponsorship execs shining the spotlight on this brand, it will be interesting to see if sponsorship deals follow.

FlexIt Fitness has seen a 361% increase month over month in search data after signing their first Major Pro Sports deal with the Florida Panthers at the end of March. So what was included in the deal?

Designated the Official Virtual Fitness Partner of the Florida Panthers, assets included in the deal are: in-person activations, venue signage, promotion sponsor, entertainment related content with the  “FlexIt Flexcam” as well as having trainers outside the stadium getting the heart rate of fans up with exercises outdoors.

Signing a first-of-its-kind deal within the MLB, Motorola will become the Jersey Patch partner for the San Diego Padres. The deal adds to Motorola’s growing list of sponsors having over 25 deals, up over 75% since 2020.

Within the top 100 most searched brands, the Financial category leads the way by a wide margin having 22 brands land on the list. The QSR and Technology categories are tied for 2nd with 9 each. 

2022 Brand Power Rankings

March Brand Power Rankings

The March Brand Power Rankings are out and Cryptocurrency holds the #1 spot on the 30 most searched brands. Toyota took home this month’s top spot. Why?

The month of March, Cryptocurrency secured 8 spots in the top 30, and 3 in the top 10. The most searched Cryptocurrency brands were Crypto.com, FTX and Coinbase which all moved up the list in this month’s top 10. Crypto.com now sits as the 2nd most searched brand, moving up from 6th spot in February. FTX and Coinbase, previously sitting at 8th and 10th last month, rose up to 7th and 8th, respectively in March’s power rankings.

The car manufacturing giant Toyota adds to its vast portfolio of deals with over 550 sponsorships, a 36% increase since 2020. This total includes sponsorships with more than 50% of NBA teams and deals with more than 70 Major Pro Sports teams in the US. During March, the company expanded its sponsorship holdings by inking deals with an Esports organization, Cricket team and BMX athlete.

Last month’s top 2 brands, HelloFresh and DUDE Products, both fell from their top spots this month but remained in the top 10. Quick Serve Restaurants own 30% of this month’s top 10, with Raising Cane’s, Jersey Mike’s and Dunkin’ coming in at 3rd, 4th and 10th, respectively. During the month of March, QSR brands signed more than 10 deals across various properties which moved this category towards the top of the list. Intuit enters this month’s power rankings at 8th after ranking outside the top 30 last month. Hydro Flask rounds out March’s top 10 brands coming in at 9th for the month.


2022 March Brand Power Rankings

Crypto Gaining More Traction Within the Emerging Industry of Esports

Like the Consumer Electronics and Technology categories, Crypto has found itself intertwined with Esports through partnership deals. Since the headline-making deal between TSM and FTX, which included naming rights and a price tag of $210m, Crypto brands have continued to find new and innovative ways to capitalize on the Esports audiences propensity towards digital literacy; a driving factor in the adoption of the category.

As a new and emerging technology, the primary focus of most Cryptocurrency brands is maximizing exposure opportunities and to demonstrate the long-term significance of crypto adoption. This is reflected in the most commonly bought assets across the category. Social media content, jersey signage, and naming rights deals for properties & events have been key in increasing brand awareness and visibility.

As Cryptocurrencies find additional traction in the mainstream media, expect to see even more partnerships with Esports teams and influencers. The category’s connection to Web3 will also allow both parties to leverage activations such as NFTs, the Metaverse, and other gaming platforms that utilize blockchain technology like Tribe Gaming and Heroes of Mavia or Misfits Gaming and Block Born.

D.C. United Partners With XDC Network

The Cryptocurrency space and NFT’s continue to develop a strong presence in the sponsorship industry. Within the last 12 months, over 40 brands in these categories have signed a venue naming rights deal or a jersey partnership globally. 

Most recently, D.C. United secured the first ever Crypto deal in the MLS with a new primary jersey partnership with XDC Network while also following the blueprint set by Socios.com in the global football market.

XDC Network will be developing a “Fan Token” program which will give fans the opportunity to gain rewards through engagement opportunities, exclusive experiences, and special access to content from the team. The brand will also be providing the landscape for fans to buy, sell, trade or interact with NFTs on the XDC Network through a video platform where fans can also learn more about blockchain technology. This is a first-of-its-kind deal for XDC Network as they have officially entered the sponsorship space within the five major pro sports leagues in the US.

The partnership between these two organizations follows the playbook set by global football teams and Socios.com who have had “Fan Token” during previous seasons. Socios.com expanded into the United States during 2021 having deals within the NHL and NBA but has yet to sign a deal within the MLS.

D.C. United & XDC Network

Crypto Brands Making A Big Impact At The Big Game

Etoro, FTX, and Crypto.com  will each have a commercial spot during football’s biggest weekend. The average price for a 30-second ad for Sunday’s game has been reported at $6.5 million, per NBC. Last year, CBS charged an average of $5.5 million.

FTX continues its hot streak with the Super Bowl after a huge year in the sponsorship spending. According to SU, the 2-year old company only signed one deal in 2020 with the Miami Heat. Currently they have over 50 sponsorship deals. Within the NFL, FTX has deals with Hall of Famer – Tom Brady, 2021 #1 overall draft pick – Trevor Lawrence, and Green Bay Packers running back – Aaron Jones. The commercial during the game is a 60-second spot and is scheduled to premiere during the second half. Fans can enter a contest to win bitcoin based on the time the ad is run, if it runs at 9:30PM, FTX will be giving out 9.3 bitcoin.

Crypto.com joins FTX on their sponsorship spending spree at the Super Bowl. FTX continues its hot streak with the Super Bowl after a huge year in the sponsorship spending.  Most Recently, Crypto.com and the Miami Grand Prix  (South Florida Motorsports) announced a nine-year deal. As part of the newest F1 event, the race will officially be called the “Formula 1 Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix”. Formula 1 currently has a deal with Crypto.com which features the “Crypto.com Overtake Award”, venue signage, virtual signage, branded event activations, and more. On top of naming rights to the Miami Grand Prix, the brand paid north of $700 million to take over the  venue naming rights for what used to be known as the Staples Center.

Etoro is the third crypto brand signing on for a commercial during the game which is unusual for their brand. They have over 25 deals with international soccer properties totaling 77% of their overall deals. What makes this deal unusual is that they have no deals inside of the United States currently, could expansion into the US be on its way?


Popularity Contest: Thirst for Crypto Partnerships Helps Finance Retain #1 Rank in Sports & Entertainment Category Search in ’21

According to SponsorUnited data, there was a 672% increase in the number of Cryptocurrency brands buying sponsorship or media from 2020 to 2021 with Coinbase, Crypto.com & FTX being the three most searched Financial brands.

Have NFT’s followed the Cryptocurrency hot streak?

As much buzz as NFT’s have been getting as of late, SponsorUnited is not seeing nearly the research and partnership demand as you’d expect vs. other hot categories within the SponsorUnited platform. Last week (1/16-1/22), our search data shows that sports & entertainment executives continue to look for the next big brand in Cryptocurrency as these brands saw 4.9X more search than NFT’s. 

As for NFT’s, Socios.com a platform that looks to bring the fans closer to the team. Socios.com currently has a partnership with 26 NBA teams according to the SponsorUnited platform, while expanding with 40+ new deals in the United States in 2021. Their expansion into the US comes after a year where they had 90% of their deals internationally which is now just over 60%.

FTX | CES 2022

FTX has taken their talents to CES 2022 with activations featuring multiple NFT’s. During 2021, FTX sponsorship deals increased 1,600% from 2020 while securing deals across many different industries and leagues. Some of the more notable deals they have are a venue naming rights deal with the Miami Heat, umpire jersey patch sponsorship with the MLB, and deals with more than 20 athletes which include future Hall of Famers Tom Brady, David Ortiz and Stephen Curry.

The FTX deal with the NBA’s Miami Heat consists of more than 20 unique sponsorship assets that include interior TV-visible Signage, press conference backdrop logo placement and a sponsored attendee virtual take home item. As fans entered the arena, they were given the opportunity to scan a QR code to receive a free FTX Arena NFT along with a free “You In, Miami?” T-shirt.

According to SponsorUnited’s MLB Marketing & Partnerships Annual Report, FTX was the most searched brand by MLB executives on the SponsorUnited platform during the 2021 season. As we look ahead to 2022, will FTX expand their current MLB sponsorship with various teams throughout the league? We can’t help but think so.