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  • Home
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  • >Boom Goes the Bitcoin: The 10 Biggest Crypto Deals in Pro Sports

Boom Goes the Bitcoin: The 10 Biggest Crypto Deals in Pro Sports

A strong association between sporting organizations and crypto firms has been taking shape for the past few years. It has been gaining more and more traction with each passing day as both the crypto industry promoters and established sporting entities are trying to create a base in each other’s customer base, especially among the digitally aware, tech-savvy young audience.

Diverse sporting organizations are also keen to drive fan engagement by giving their fan voting rights on some of the club’s decisions through exclusive fan tokens.

Here, we present you with a list of the ten biggest crypto deals in sporting history, spanning different sports such as soccer, motorsports, golf, mixed martial arts, etc. Expect this list to change considerably over the years as crypto adoption becomes more and more widespread.

F1 team Aston Martin signed one of the most high-profile crypto-based sponsorship deals with Crypto.com

Aston Martin F1 Collaborates with Crypto.com

In March 2021, Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One became the first Formula One team to partner with a cryptocurrency platform, Crypto.com. The terms of engagement dictate that Crypto.com will look after exclusive fan engagement activations and explore new opportunities for crypto traders.

Both the companies are looking to bring a fresh perspective to their businesses through this partnership. Crypto.com will gain penetration into the Formula One audience through this partnership/ whereas, Aston Martin F1 will augment its branding among the crypto-enthusiast community.

According to Kris Marszalek, CEO of Crypto.com, the opportunity for crypto.com to align with such a ‘well-respected brand with such a huge tradition as Aston Martin’ is indicative of the maturity that the crypto industry has earned over the past few years.

McLaren Strikes a Partnership with Bitci.com

In a similar deal, McLaren, the globally-revered Formula 1 auto racing team, entered into a long-term partnership with Turkish crypto firm, Bitci.com. By the terms of this deal, Bitci.com will create an official fan token for team McLaren.

According to McLaren, it is a first-of-its-kind partnership through which Bitci.com, a cryptocurrency exchange with around $50 million of trading volume, will become an official partner of the team.

The tokens will be digital limited edition ones. Procuring these tokens will allow the fans to become partners of the team they like. Here, the token owners will earn voting rights on certain decisions made by the team. There will be several other advantages as well. The tokens will be available on Bitci.com’s native blockchain Bitci Chain, developed in 2020.

The Miami Heat signed a massive deal with crypto exchange FTX

Miami Heat Deal with Crypto Exchange FTX

In a recent deal, well-known crypto exchange FTX secured the naming rights to the home arena of the Miami Heat, the famous NBA team. Reportedly, FTX sealed the deal for $135 million. As the terms of the deal dictate, in a first-ever agreement where a crypto business has won the naming rights to a major US professional sports venue, the 19,000-capacity American Airlines Arena will now become the FTX arena.

According to FTX’s CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, the deal is partly philanthropic as FTX wants to make as much money as possible in crypto and give it away through the practice of effective altruism. For them, this renaming is partly an investment to the local community.

SL Benfica Collaborates With Crypto Service Utrust

On June 6, 2019, one of the most renowned Portuguese sports clubs, SL Benfica, struck a deal with cryptocurrency service provider Utrust to offer its fans and customers crypto payments options. According to the latest available annual results, the club earned nearly 140 million Euros in 2020.

The partnership enabled the club to sell tickets in exchange for payments in cryptocurrencies such as Utrust’s native token UTK, and other top cryptocurrencies like BTC and ETH. The partnership expanded the set of choices available to SL Benfica fans. On the other hand, it proved beneficial for the club as it could pocket its revenue directly in cash with Uttrust’s instant crypto-to-fiat conversion feature.

The club decided to go with fiat payouts as it helped avoid the volatility around cryptocurrencies while benefiting from the security advantages of blockchain technology. It also facilitated the club to accommodate fans who are crypto-enthusiasts and look for more and more crypto payment avenues in their day-to-day life.

The club promoted its new crypto payment service as something that would offer the cheapest, safest, and fastest online payment option to its fanbase. SL Benfica, with around 7 million active fans on social media – almost half of its total fan base – also realized its benefit in going aggressively digital with crypto payments.

West Ham United’s Deal With Socios.com 

A couple of months before the SL Benfica deal was struck, another reputed EPL soccer club, West Ham United, collaborated with the blockchain platform – Socios.com. The purpose was to start a fan-token ecosystem.

The club, along with Socios, planned to launch a club-branded official token through an event termed as the ‘Fan Token Offering’ at the start of its official session for 2019-2020. The token was devised as a crypto asset that would offer voting rights to its fans. The fans would qualify as voters in various tokenized polls conducted on the Socios app. Apart from driving engagement, the tokens also granted access to merchandise, rewards, and games to their holders.

West Ham United, ranked number 11 in the EPL, has a strong digital presence with more than 2.5 million likes on its Facebook page and 1.8 million followers on its official Twitter handle. The club’s deal with Socios will definitely augment its digital support. According to a statistical survey published by a reputed crypto statistics provider, 46% of users were keen to buy Fan Tokens associated with high profile soccer teams.

Arsenal’s Deal With CashBet

In January 2018, Arsenal, one of the major global sporting teams, signed a sponsorship deal with US-based cryptocurrency CashBet. According to the terms of the agreement, Arsenal agreed to promote CashBet’s ICO at the Emirates stadium in front of an audience of 60,000. The deal was an important landmark for the crypto firm, which was, at that time, actively targeting a global, multibillion-dollar marketplace of i-gaming content providers, operators, and players.

Although none of the parties involved in the deal disclosed the deal value, Cash bet had plans to raise between $40 million and $70 million from its ICO. The crypto brand leveraged Arsenal’s crest and player’s images, while the club described CashBet as its first official cryptocurrency partner. CryptoBet decided to price its coins at 50 cents each and planned to use them on CashBet’s mobile phone gambling apps.

MMA giant UFC signed a significant deal with Litecoin

Litecoin’s Partnership With Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

In December 2018, the Litecoin Foundation partnered with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Ultimate Fighting Championship, popularly known as the UFC, is one of the globally leading mixed martial arts organizations. The deal was to display the Litecoin logo on the octagonal fighting canvas during a fight between the UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and another light heavyweight, Alexander Gustafsson.

While elaborating on the purpose of the deal, the Litecoin Foundation said that it aimed to raise awareness and drive interest in Litecoin by attracting the attention of millions of viewers who attend these high-voltage events.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Partnership With UnitedCoin

In July 2019, Cleveland Cavaliers, an Ohio-based professional basketball team, also known as The Cavs, partnered with the crypto firm United Coin along with its associated sports club Cavs Legion CC.

The partnership drew attention as it not only paved the way for UnitedCoin’s entry into the sport-loving community but also equipped the team with an inroad to the fintech sector. As per the terms of the deal, the Cavs legion advertised UnitedCoin as its official crypto partner. They agreed to display UnitedCoin on the team’s in-game home court.

The Cavs Legion also agreed to put UnitedCoin’s brand on social media. UnitedCoin, as a provider, offers payment and transaction services with both fiat and crypto via phone, email, or a Mastercard Debit Card that they have issued.

LIFElabs Sponsoring British Masters Golf Tournament

In October 2018, a philanthropy-focussed cryptocurrency startup, LIFElabs decided to officially sponsor the Sky Sports British Masters golf competition. The other sponsors backing the event included industry-leading brands such as Adidas, Ladbrokes, Taylormade, etc.

The arrangement between the LIFElabs and the golf competition was unique. As part of the agreement, LIFElabs held a contest on the ninth hole. The contest said that the first player to hit a hole-in-one will win 10,000-pound sterlings, and another sum of 10,000-pound sterlings will be split between Cancer Research UK and the European Tour Foundation.

Barcelona Strikes a Deal with Chiliz

The world-famous football club Barcelona launched a fan token ($BAR) in association with Chiliz (Binance: $CHZ), the leading blockchain fintech provider for sports and entertainment. On 22nd June 2020, within less than two hours after going on sale on Socios.com and the Chiliz Exchange, the platform generated $1.3 million.

The demand for $BAR surpassed the initial limited supply over five times, with more than $6Million deposited across Chiliz.net & Socios.com in the days running up to and during the flash sale. The sale witnessed participants from 106 different countries in the world.

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