The sports industry is well acquainted with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Several football and racing teams already have their own crypto tokens, which they use to reward fans and include them in their decision-making process. Prominent crypto exchanges are also sponsoring entire sports events. For instance, Crypto.com has a 10-year, $175 million partnership with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The Singapore-based crypto exchange is also the official title partner of the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix. And last year, FTX became an official sponsor of Major League Baseball, the first time an American pro-sports league has partnered with a crypto firm. Another avenue crypto firms are exploring is sponsoring individual sports teams. It's a trend that has quickly picked up steam, with many premier sporting outfits partnering with crypto exchanges and trading platforms over the last couple of years. Here's a round-up of the top sports teams that crypto firms sponsor:
FTX signs multi-year deal with Mercedes F1 | Inked in September 2021, the FTX-Mercedes F1 deal is reportedly worth more than $100 million. This five-year partnership offers FTX branding rights on the team's cars and driver uniforms. FTX began its branding exercise immediately with the Russian Grand Prix on September 26, 2021. As part of the deal, FTX can also use Mercedes drivers for promotions to expand its reach among the F1 fanbase.
Atletico Madrid WhaleFin shirt sponsorship deal | Early this month, Spanish soccer giant Atletico Madrid announced a five-year sponsorship deal with crypto trading platform WhaleFin. The deal is worth $42 million a year and will see WhaleFin as the main shirt sponsor for the 2022-23 campaign. Earlier, Atletico had a $17 million-a-year partnership with trading platform Plus500 that ended with the 2021-22 campaign.
WhaleFin sleeve sponsorship deal with Chelsea | In May 2022, English soccer giants Chelsea announced a $24.4 million deal with Amber Group's crypto trading platform WhaleFin. Beginning from the 2022-23 season, WhaleFin will be the club's sleeve sponsor. The new sponsorship deal comes with a substantial uptick from its previous sponsor Hyundai. The Korean carmaker had reportedly paid $61 million for a four-year sponsorship deal.
Manchester City's multimillion-dollar deal with OKX | In March 2022, English football club Manchester City announced OKX as its official cryptocurrency exchange partner. The deal provides OKX with branding rights for Man City’s men's, women's, and e-sport teams. As part of the deal, OKX branding will also be displayed on the club's digital assets and across the Etihad Stadium and the Academy Stadium. A month earlier, the team's crosstown rivals, Manchester United, signed a sponsorship deal with blockchain company Tezos, reportedly worth $27 million.
Red Bull F1 enters $150-million deal with Bybit | In February this year, the Red Bull F1 team inked a three-year deal with cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform Bybit. Although the deal's financial details are not officially confirmed, it's believed to be one of the most expensive crypto deals in international sports. Unconfirmed sources claimed that the partnership is worth $150 million. Among many things, the deal allows prominent Bybit branding on the front and rear wings of the Red Bull F1 cars.
Sri Lanka and Ireland cricket teams receive CoinDCX sponsorship | In July 2021, CoinDCX inked a pact to become the Official Overseas Sponsor of Team Sri Lanka. The Indian crypto exchange claimed that the partnership would help it appeal to the millennials and Gen Z to invest in digital assets. The same month, it announced its collaboration with Ireland Cricket as the Main Team Sponsor for their upcoming series against South Africa. As part of the deal, CoinDCX branding would feature on the front of the official jersey of the Ireland cricket team during the series.