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.
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.
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?
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 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.