Are Cryptocurrencies Appropriate Sponsors Of Sports Clubs Based On Public Opinion?

Tamara T.
By Tamara T.
Crypto Expert
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Updated Sep 14, 2022
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Read time 9 min

Sports betting industry is growing at an unprecedented pace which attracts both players and operators to get involved in the sector. Sports clubs around the world have already recognized a big potential in cryptocurrencies and blockchain solutions to enhance customer experience. Crypto is also seen as a perfect method to draw the attention of sponsors and drive market entertainment.  

While betting enthusiasts look for regular engagement,  teams and sports clubs strive to provide innovative solutions and meet their expectations. As a post-pandemic response, the sports industry has invented new methods to guarantee that clubs and customers stay connected in this highly competitive sector. That led to the increase in the number of crypto-sponsorships, and the introduction of the latest fan tokens, non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”), and similar projects. The industry is growing rapidly and learning more about such agreements seems logical.

What Are Crypto Sports Sponsorships

Cryptocurrency companies are turning into the largest advertisers and sponsors in the sports betting industry. They are ready to engage new audiences and sports leagues have also accepted crypto as a way of increasing revenues.

Cryptocurrency sports sponsorships are the perfect way of taking the business to the next level while getting more attention from both consumers and investors. Crypto companies see potential in the sports betting sector that connects crypto with gambling sites that accept crypto as a deposit method. 

Any crypto-friendly company can look for an appropriate sponsorship, with the sports betting sector being the best way for it. Sponsoring a small local club increases brand awareness, promotes brand loyalty, and backs the local community. Finding such deals requires getting in touch with local clubs and paying them a sponsorship fee. This will help them in covering the main costs for equipment and facilities. At the same time, crypto companies will get the right to promote their brand for a small fee. 

Popular Crypto Sponsorships in the Market

Many agreements between leading sports clubs and crypto operators have already been signed and some of them are given below:

  • Chelsea has signed a shirt-sleeve sponsorship deal with the WhaleFin worth £20 million a season. The logo of the company will be presented on men’s and women’s kits teams from the 2022/23 season.
  • Spanish soccer team Atletico Madrid has closed a deal with crypto exchange platform WhaleFin to become the club’s shirt sponsor from the 2022/23 season. The worth of the deal is estimated at €42 million annually
  • FIFA has signed a deal with Crypto.com to be an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. As one of the fastest-increasing crypto platforms, Crypto.com already has over 10 million customers and 4,000+ employees globally
  • Manchester United concluded a multi-year sponsorship deal for their training kit with blockchain brand Tezos. The club also looks to introduce new fan experiences on the Tezos blockchain.
  • Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One has signed a deal with Crypto.com, allowing the crypto company to get exposure to team’s cars in competitions

Bitcoin and alternative cryptocurrencies are also implemented as payment methods. Sports bettors around the world can now purchase tickets while clubs can pay players’ salaries and transfer costs. Sports clubs and leading companies also take advantage of blockchain technologies by utilizing secure ticket exchange markets. 

One of the perfect examples of this practice is a Turkish football club, Harunustaspor, that became the first in the world to purchase a player with Bitcoin. Omar Faruk Kiroglu (22 years old), got 0.0524 in Bitcoin (£385) and ₺2,500 (£470) following the deal with the local club back in 2018.

Another example are international providers of payment services, Wirex and Epayments, that allowed fans to purchase FIFA World Cup 2018 tickets with Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. At the same time, Kaliningrad hotel Apartments Malina enabled customers to book and pay for their stay with Bitcoin.

Potential Risks

Apart from different benefits to both consumers and operators, crypto sports sponsorship 

bring some reputational and financial risks. This should be taken into account before any engagement in such investments: 

  • Similarities to Gambling: Investing in crypto is speculative and many consider it a form of gambling. Problem gamblers are at a higher risk as they would probably express interest in investments.
  • Limited regulation: Cryptocurrency is a new term and the industry is still not fully regulated.
  • Reputation: Cryptocurrencies tend to be associated with financial crime. Its use on the dark web is not rare, and hacking attacks are a real threat.
  • Environmental: Investing in crypto is also associated with environmental risks regarding the energy-consuming activities for every transaction and “mining” of new coins.
  • Financial: Some crypto sponsors have already collapsed and the same financial risk can affect other deals in the market.

Public Opinion on Sponsorships

Are cryptocurrencies appropriate sponsors of sports clubs based on public opinion? Many government organizations have conducted questionnaires to find out what people think about these agreements. 

According to the YouGov Direct poll from 2021, 11% of US adults believe sports sponsorships make cryptos more reliable, but a majority (58%) consider that such deals don’t bring any special credibility. However, sports fans regard these deals as more important. About 16% of NBA fans in the US are likely to believe sports sponsorship deals make crypto platforms more credible. 

When it comes to public opinion in Great Britain, it is similar to America’s, with 12% of adults considering that sports sponsorships legitimize crypto brands. The greatest acceptance is among the Super League Rugby fans  (18%) which are followed by Formula 1 (15%), Premiership Rugby (14%), and Premier League fans (14%).

Interestingly, both Americans and Brits believe that other industries are more appropriate for sponsors. According to their opinions, sectors like tourism, travel brands, technology, telecommunication, and auto makers are a better fit than crypto sponsors.

One is sure, crypto sponsorships with leading sports betting brands are beneficial to all parties. Crypto players take advantage of sponsorships by getting access to new platforms and enjoying the integrity of products and services. 

On the other hand, sports betting companies associate themselves with crypto brands to attract new audiences and younger generations. This contributes to the wider recognition and overall success. Finally, crypto brands get the opportunity to fuel customer acquisition with leading sponsorship deals hoping they would work better than alternative marketing strategies.

All in all, cryptocurrencies continue to change the sports betting industry for the better while boosting regular growth. With the further recognition of blockchain payments, we can expect even more deals between sports teams and crypto companies which will shape the future of both industries.

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Tamara T.
Tamara T.
Crypto Expert

Tamara is an entrepreneur and content specialist. She is passionate about gambling and cryptocurrency world, having worked on different casino and crypto writing projects. Tamara is also interested in legislation, investments, and DeFi.