While there wasn’t a large amount of volume in the sports and crypto landscape over the past week, there were still some very notable headlines. Coinbase found themselves a new non-traditional sports partner, just a couple short weeks after securing the NBA as a partner, and fan tokens could be on the rise.
There are just a few stories that made the newswire this week, so let’s take a look at the action we saw over the past week in the world of sports and crypto engagement.
Coinbase’s Newest Esports Partnership
Esports continues to be seen as an “endemic” partnership category for cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms. To date, Coinbase has partnered with the likes of BIG, Evil Geniuses, and major esports tournament organizer ESL Gaming.
Add another notch to the Coinbase belt, as the exchange secured a deal this past week with esports organization Team Liquid. Coinbase will look to integrate crypto payment support into Team Liquid’s existing online marketplace. Additionally, fan engagement initiatives and education around emerging technology will be a focal point of the partnership.
Esports organizations to date have typically had a high-level of sponsorship dependency in their revenue models. The most notable esports orgs, like FaZe and 100 Thieves, have been able to further investments into content, allowing them to have more ways to sell brand exposure in partnership deals. Nonetheless, other powerhouse orgs like TSM have done an excellent job as well.
Meanwhile, crypto exchanges and platforms are showing increasing capabilities in finding the sponsorship dollars necessary to lock in these deals. The aforementioned org TSM secured a headline-shattering $200+ million, 10-year deal with FTX (who has been on a sports sponsorship spending tear this year) earlier in the year, as part of a historic naming rights deal that hasn’t been matched at that level in esports.
Socios.com Breaks Into Two New Sports Verticals: MLS & NFL
The NFL hasn’t been the most receptive league in sports when it comes to crypto engagement and interaction. The legacy sports league can afford to be conservative, but in today’s changing landscape, how long will they wait until the potential sponsorship revenue becomes too much to resist?
Perhaps not long. Earlier in the year, many teams and individual athletes were exploring potential deals, new avenues for NFT projects, and more. However, by the time September came around, the noise was too much and the league put a halt to essentially all crypto-related activity. This week, though, a new deal came into the fold that could signal a change in the tides.
Kraft Sports & Entertainment, the ownership group of the NFL’s New England Patriots and MLS’ New England Revolution, signed a deal with Socios.com. The move is Socios.com first foray into both MLS and NFL. The league at large is on the cusp of releasing NFL’s league-wide NFT platform in collaboration with Dapper Labs, which is expected before February’s Super Bowl.
The deal increases Socios.com exposure into new verticals in the U.S., which has been a focal point for the platform. The full scope of the deal with Kraft Sports & Entertainment is yet to be revealed. So long as play-to-earn and NFTs continue to evolve, expect crypto and blockchain technology to be a mainstay in the conversation around esports and gaming.
Sports Teams Fan Tokens Coming To Major Exchanges?
Speaking of fan tokens, one of the biggest exchanges in crypto could be warming up to supporting fan tokens. Socios.com and Manchester City could’ve just gotten a leg up in the fan token space, as powerhouse exchange Binance announced this week that it would be supporting Man City’s CITY token.
In Binance’s press release, the exchange announced that it would support trading for the CITY token with USDT, BNB, BTC, and BUSD swaps. The exchange also introduced support for Ethereum Name Service’ ENS token. Following the announcement, the CITY token nearly doubled in a matter of hours, surging from $14.50 to around $25.45 in short time. The token has since returned to earth and is trading around the same price range prior to the press release.
Could the move signal more fan tokens being supported on Binance, or other major exchanges? Binance’s involvement and interest in sports continues to rise, as the exchange secured a partnership with major Serie A club Lazio just last month.