A recent Nielsen sports report has presented an optimistic outlook for crypto sports partnerships in the coming years. According to the report, this space is expected to grow to as high as $5 billion in less than a decade. It forecasts that crypto sports sponsorships will grow by 778% in the next five years. All of which will be driven by fans who are getting more interested in the crypto space.
These partnerships are not only a testament to the growth of cryptocurrencies but also their importance to various industries. Billions of dollars have already gone into crypto sports partnerships in recent years as many crypto companies and sports teams take the plunge, but what is the significance of the partnerships?
Crypto Sports Partnerships Are On The Rise
Five years ago, the idea of a leading sports team partnering with a crypto company was unheard of. Cryptocurrencies were still considered the ‘currency of criminals’ and entities wanted to be separated from them. This is no longer the case as the past few years have seen a change in the tide.
Recently, the crypto industry saw the renaming of the legendary Staples Center to the Crypto.com Arena in a $700 million deal that took the world by surprise. There have been more prominent partnerships since then like Alchemy Pay has become an official partner of the leading Spanish soccer team, Real Betis.
Crypto exchange OKX announced that it had inked a partnership deal with Premier League club, Manchester City, sponsoring both its men’s and women’s teams.
Elsewhere in sports, Red Bull Racing, a Formula 1 racing team, has a 3-year sponsorship deal with crypto firm Bybit, with Tezos acting as its official blockchain partner.
The recently concluded Super Bowl LVI was dominated by crypto from crypto firms such as Coinbase, FTX, and Crypto.com.
Crypto.com, the crypto firm with undoubtedly the widest marketing reach, also has a sponsorship deal with the UFC that sees its brand appear on all apparel worn by the fighters during matches.
These crypto sports sponsorships span across various sports leagues like Formula 1, football, baseball, eSports, etc. They grew over 100% in 2021 alone and if Neilsen’s forecast is anything to go by, then 2022 will see crypto deals with sports teams grow even more.
Why These Sponsorships Are Important
While things like crypto sports sponsorships are on the rise, there is still a long way to go for full integration of both industries. Crypto sports sponsorships present an easy entry towards the end goal of total integration. Things like crypto payments for sports merchandise and tickets, or salaries being paid in crypto are still a long way away. However, they are closer than they have ever been.
The partnership between Alchemy Pay and Real Betis is an example of a sponsorship deal that further propels crypto use in sports. Alchemy Pay is a crypto payments gateway and their entrance into the industry by partnering with Real Betis opens up the possibility of crypto payments in the future.
Late last year, the Houston Rockets announced that it would pay players in bitcoin following a sponsorship deal with NYDIG, a bitcoin company that fuses high tech with institutional-grade finance to provide new financial products.
The Dallas Mavericks, an NBA team, already accepts crypto payments for merchandise and tickets through a partnership with BitPay. The team also has a five-year deal with a publicly traded crypto brokerage platform, Voyager Digital.
Additionally, these sports deals are helping build legitimacy for crypto companies. With the exposure that comes with these partnerships, sports fans can further engage with the crypto space on a more personal level. It puts cryptocurrencies in front of millions of fans worldwide, while simultaneously bringing in more money for both industries.