Bear market, beware? Or is the market’s tenacity enough to keep sports engagement alive? Thus far into a middling 2022, it’s been more of the latter than the former. Crypto firms remain at the heart of many of the biggest sport sponsorship conversations, athlete engagement in the space continues to build, and there’s new NFT endeavors from sports properties across the globe.
This past week, we saw a little slice of all of that action – and every weekend, we review all of the past week’s sports activity in crypto with ‘The Sports Slice.’ We’re on extended Labor Day edition this week, but there’s still plenty of action to cover – let’s dive in.
The Sports Slice
Crypto.com Reportedly Drops Out Of UEFA Deal At 11th hour
A five-year, $495 million dollar deal is no small discussion in any sponsorship category. Those were the rumored terms of a sports sponsorship deal between cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com and UEFA’s Champions League, according to a report from Sports Business Journal (with sources from The Athletic as well) recently.
However, concerns over the European regulatory landscape have led the crypto exchange, who have amassed one of the largest sports sponsorship portfolios in crypto, to back out of the deal at the “last moment.” The exchange was slated to replace Russian energy provider Gazprom, who was severed from the league following the war in Ukraine.
While European clubs such as Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, among others, have signed team-specific crypto deals, there has still been vocal concerns from players in the EU market about how regulations could restrict both sponsorships and the crypto market at large. A prime example of this can be exhibited with Arsenal, who has fought back-and-forth with advertising regulations over the past year (and as we covered in a Slice report last month).
Bloomberg: Crypto Market Is Still Bullish On Sports Sponsorships
Bear market aside, the crypto market is still active in sports sponsorship. That’s the latest perspective from a new report from Bloomberg, which detailed the breadth of sport engagement – from the ‘big 4’ of U.S. major league sports (NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB) to European football, to Formula 1, and much more.
Jersey deals, practice kits, arena sponsorships. Deals amass to over $2B in sports advertising, in what is seen from traditional sponsorship experts as essentially a whole new sponsorship category. It’s not often that we see emergences of entirely new verticals in sponsorship – and certainly not to this degree. As the Bloomberg team notes, this category doesn’t typically compete with other sponsorship categories either – which has led to a big flow of interest from players, teams and leagues across all sports to dip their toes in the water.
The biggest deal to date? Crypto.com’s $700M arena naming rights deal for the former Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Algorand (ALGO) has been a sleepy player in the sports space, typically targeting non-traditional sports such as drone racing and chess, however their flagship partnership with FIFA could prove to be their biggest execution in sports yet. | Source: ALGO-USD on TradingView.com
Eagles’ Devonta Smith Seals New NFT Shoe Deal
The NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles are looking to fly high on the heels of the upcoming start of the season this coming weekend. Eagles’ wide receiver is starting the season off with a new deal with Endstate, a sneaker firm that is pairing ownership with NFTs. Endstate is new to the scene, but carries a team of sneaker veterans. They’re not the first to tie in sneakers with NFTs however, as a variety of projects, such as Solana’s STEPN, are cross-pollinating sneakers and NFTs. Talent could prove to play a big role, so we’ll see how it shakes out for Smith and the Endstate team.
FIFA & Algorand Launching NFT Marketplace
Earlier this year, FIFA announced a formal relationship with the Algorand network – and this past week, we saw the first real tangible movement of something major coming from the two. FIFA is slated to release ‘FIFA+ Collect’ on Algorand this month, the governing body’s first take on an NFT platform.
The platform will feature art, imagery, and big play moments in the history of the sport.
Featured image from Pexels, Charts from TradingView.com
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