Sports and Crypto Have a Lot In Common — Which Explains Crypto Arena
Image Courtesy of Crypto.com.

Sports and Crypto Have a Lot In Common — Which Explains Crypto Arena

Crypto platforms are increasingly interested in inking deals with sports organizations — here's why.
Neither the author, Tim Fries, nor this website, The Tokenist, provide financial advice. Please consult our website policy prior to making financial decisions.

The Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com has scored a deal with the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to secure the naming rights for downtown Los Angeles’ iconic arena. Previously called the Staples Center, the stadium will be renamed to the Crypto.com Arena, further strengthening the already strong bond between sports and crypto. 

Crypto.com Partners with Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Kings

Crypto.com revealed Wednesday that it has inked a 20-year naming rights agreement with the AEG, an American worldwide sporting, and music entertainment presenter. As part of the deal, Crypto.com becomes an official cryptocurrency platform partner of the American professional basketball teams Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Kings.

On December 25, Christmas Day 2021, AEG and Crypto.com will reveal the new logo, the internal arena signage of the newly named Crypto.com Arena, and other branding assets. The arena also serves as the official home of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers, the NHL’s LA Kings, and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.

Kris Marszalek, co-founder and CEO of Crypto.com had this to say with the announcement:

“We’re very excited about partnering with AEG and investing long term in this city, starting with Crypto.com Arena in the heart of downtown, and using our platform in new and creative ways so that cryptocurrency can power the future of world class sports, entertainment and technology for fans in LA and around the world.”

The deal marks yet another foray into sports by Crypto.com. The crypto exchange has been aggressively pursuing sponsorships in the sports world, backing teams across basketball, soccer, hockey, mixed martial arts, and esports.

Notably, Crypto.com has recently partnered with US actor Matt Damon, pledging to spend more than $100 million to create ads starring Damon, with directing duties taken up by prominent cinematographer Wally Pfister.

“I’ve never done an endorsement like this,” Damon said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We’re hoping this is the beginning of a great long-term collaboration.”

Meanwhile, Crypto.com’s native token, CRO, has been on a wild run lately following the new partnerships. As of time of writing, CRO is up by more than 15% over the last 24 hours, while other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are in the red. Zooming out, CRO has surged by more than 35% over the last week. 

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Sports Fans are Ideal Customers for Crypto Platforms

Crypto platforms are increasingly pursuing sports partnerships and for good reason. Recent research reveals that sports fans are twice as likely to be acquainted with the emerging virtual asset class than non-fans, making them ideal customers for crypto firms. 

As per a recent Morning Consult poll, 47% of sports fans said they are familiar with crypto. In comparison, only 39% of all US adults and merely 23% of non-sports fans are acquainted with digital assets. Moreover, 66% of “avid” sports fans and 72% of sports bettors are familiar with crypto, revealing that more engaged sports fans are more interested in crypto. This may go some way to explain the gambling industry’s foray into NFTs, as they likely see similar opportunities for their business interests.

Image Courtesy of Morning Consult.

Ben Ziffren, director of business development at the sports marketing agency Wasserman said he sees the spaces are merging.

“We’ve seen a combination of new companies that are coming up in this space and are very crypto-focused, and some more traditional companies in the financial services space that now have this as an additional offering. The interest over the past six months to a year has grown tremendously.”

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Sponsorships Involving Crypto and Sports

In the soccer world, eToro, the social trading brokerage firm which supports crypto as well as forex, launched 12 sponsorships in the UK and Germany back in 2020. As part of the deal, eToro pledged to sponsor six prominent soccer clubs in the UK and six in Germany.

Similarly, the leading derivatives exchange FTX has made several partnerships in sports so far this year. More recently, the exchange purchased the naming rights for the California Memorial Stadium, rebranding the arena to FTX Field. Prior to that, FTX entered into a 19-year partnership with Miami’s professional basketball team, the Heat.

Notably, sports companies and organizations are also capitalizing on this opportunity. For instance, leading football club FC Barcelona released Barça Fan Tokens in 2020. The club sold out its initial 600,000 BAR tokens within two hours, raking in a total of $1.3 million. 

In the US, Dapper Labs has been using NFTs to offer sports collectibles to fans. The company’s NBA Top Shot NFT series, which features basketball’s greatest moments, has been a hit, accounting for a third of all NFT trading volume in Q1 and processing $500 million worth of transactions.

In total, NBA Top Shot has recorded more than $1.46 billion in trading activity and more than 20 million sales, as per data by DappRadar. Arguably, this success is the reason behind the firm’s recent decision to launch NFL NFTs.

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Do you agree that sports fans are ideal customers for crypto platforms? Let us know in the comments below. 

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