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Cryptocurrency exchanges target sports sponsorship

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For more than a quarter century, the crest of Italian tire maker Pirelli has been adorning the jerseys of Italian soccer champions Inter Milan. But this season, the black and blue striped Inter jerseys are making their way to cryptocurrency.

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With the proliferation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, the companies behind the emerging industry are turning to sports sponsorship to actualize their decade-lengthy journey from the depths of the internet to mainstream speculative assets.

According to UEFA, European football clubs are on course to lose 9 billion euros in revenue due to the pandemic, as disruptions to broadcast schedules and matches played without fans in stadiums hampered balance sheets. As the UK reviews its gambling laws, some football executives have also warned of potential revenue hits if rule makers succeed Italy and Spain in cracking down on betting sponsorship.

Crypto companies, which have benefited from the rising value of Bitcoin and other digital currencies, are poised to load the gap. Inter Milan shirts, in a deal for an undisclosed amount, will now announce crypto exchange Sports and cryptocurrency executives say such sponsorship is growing, with some valued at seven or eight figures a year.

“I don’t think she’s opportunistic so much, [crypto has] I performed well during the epidemic, sports on its knees [and] “It’s going to take its money where it can get from,” said Ben Pincus, director of commercial partnerships at Formula 1, the global racing series.

In June, F1 added, which provides digital wallets for storing and paying cryptocurrencies, to a sponsorship list that includes Swiss luxury watchmaker Rolex, Pirelli and Saudi oil company Aramco. The deal is worth $30 million a year, according to a person close to F1.

But there are questions about the sustainability of crypto deals, as the agreements span several years. Some exchanges, for example, experienced rapid growth prior losing ground to unused competitors, or succumbing to theft and other cybersecurity failures.

Andrea Pinamont of Inter Milan during this month's friendly match
Inter Milan shirts, in a deal for an undisclosed amount, will now announce crypto exchange © Mattia Ozbot – Inter / Inter via Getty

Inter Milan is just one of a series of teams, including local rivals AC Milan and Juventus, Barcelona, ​​Arsenal and Manchester City, to partner with Socios, which enables clubs and leagues to issue digital tokens that can be sold to fans and traded like other assets.

Socios, which is part of a group of entities registered in Malta and Switzerland, does not sponsor the shirt of every club with which it engages in token sales.

Tokens also donate supporters access to promotions or rewards. Juventus used the platform to allow token holders to choose which song is played when the team scores.

Fans must use Socios’ digital currency, Chiliz, to purchase team tokens via the company’s app. Chiliz is trading at just over $0.31 a coin, having reached $0.84 in April of this year, according to, illustrating how fans can find themselves trapped in the volatile crypto markets.

In May, the Spanish club Atlético de Madrid’s token rose to more than $50, with a 24-hour trading volume of more than $300 million, just as it grabbed the La Liga title. It fell to a fifth in a matter of weeks.

Alexander Dreyfus, founder of Socios and Chiliz, said clubs and leagues should be very watchful about who they partner with. They are the ones who will donate some legitimacy to them [these] He said.” He added that clubs need to ensure that crypto companies bring “regulatory certainty” and provide a “safe environment” for fans.

Regulators step up scrutiny of cryptocurrencies. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has been warned that it will “take a firm and rapid action” on misleading crypto-related ads, while financial regulators expand their oversight of the sector.

However, cryptocurrency sponsorship continues in the United States. In June, Major League Baseball signed a multi-million dollar lengthy-term deal with FTX, an exchange that final month was worth $18 billion, up from $1.2 billion final year.

“The pandemic has accelerated for a lot of distinct consumer trends, whether it’s my parents who I never thought would figure out how to access Netflix . . . or whether people were investing in crypto,” said Noah Garden, chief revenue officer at MLB. “I think it’s here to stay.”

Sina Nader, chief operating officer of FTX US, said that as people become more familiar with cryptocurrency as a concept, the next challenge is to engage them in a dialogue. “And sport really captures the imagination of literally billions of people. We aspire to reach those billions of people.” Is he an opportunist? I do not think so. The timing was matrix.”

The exchange commits tens of millions of dollars annually to sports sponsorship, recruiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and his wife, model Gisele Bündchen as ambassadors and advisors.

By associating themselves with the biggest names in sports, crypto companies are betting that the digital economy’s appeal to the mainstream audience will increase – and they are willing to pay to be ahead.

In July, StormX paid “eight figures” for five-year jersey sponsorship of the Portland Trail Blazers’ NBA team. Simon Yu, CEO of a company that works with major retailers to reward shoppers with crypto tokens, said there is a “very powerful relationship” between NBA viewers and StormX’s target audience of 18-45 “predominantly male”.

“Most of the people we are trying to beat with the NBA are not into crypto yet,” he said.

Video: Why Every Dogecoin Has Its Day – Cryptocurrency Explained

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