The Impact of Cryptocurrency on the Sports World
By: Chris Tulley
Cryptocurrency is taking the world by storm. Not only are people investing in crypto, but the sports world has taken interest in it as well. As crypto gains more traction, athletes are starting to ask to be paid in some form of cryptocurrency.
On November 1, 2021 Aaron Rodgers announced via Twitter that he was teaming up with Cash App to receive some of his salary in Bitcoin. However, Aaron Rodgers isn’t the first athlete to decide to receive earnings in cryptocurrency. NFL star and New York Giants running back, Saquon Barkley, declared that all of his endorsement deals off the field would be paid exclusively in Bitcoin. Another player who opted to receive a form of payment in cryptocurrency is former Clemson star turned pro Trevor Lawrence. Trevor Lawrence's signing bonus with the Jacksonville Jaguars was placed into his cryptocurrency account through his partner Blockfolio. With crypto becoming more popular, don’t be surprised to see more athletes opting to be paid in crypto. T
Athletes opting to be paid in cryptocurrency but what about sports teams and leagues themselves? The global sport sponsorship market according to Statista, was worth $57 billion in 2020, and is expected to grow to $90 billion by 2027. With these astonishing numbers, crypto companies have entered the sport sponsorship world and have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to do so. Crypto.com, which is a popular crypto wallet, has spent over $400 million in sport sponsorship deals. Some of these deals according to FOS include partnerships with the Montreal Canadiens, Formula 1, UFC, Paris St-Germain, and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Another crypto company that has a heavy influence on the sports world is FTX. FTX signed a deal with the MLB to become the official cryptocurrency partner, and had umpires wear FTX patches on their uniforms. Not only is FTX sponsoring leagues but athletes as well. Some athletes who have partnered with FTX include powerhouse names such as Tom Brady, Steph Curry, and David Ortiz just to name a few. Still not impressed? What if I told you FTX also bought the naming rights to the arena where the Miami Heat play, and is now called FTX Arena. Not only is FTX getting involved in professional sport sponsorship, but they also have made their mark in the collegiate NIL space. The Kentucky Men’s Basketball team just signed a NIL deal with FTX. According to Bleacher Report, the deal allows players to be paid monthly as ambassadors of FTX.
Still don’t think crypto has made a mark on the sports world? The popular cryptocurrency exchange platform “Coinbase”, agreed to a deal with the NBA this year. This deal according to CNBC allows Coinbase to use NBA platforms such as the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA2k, and USA Basketball.
Whether you’re on the cryptocurrency train or not, it’s hard to deny the power and presence that it has established in today’s society, especially in the sports world. More and more athletes will continue to opt into being paid through cryptocurrency. As these big deals continue to be made, don't be surprised to see cryptocurrency platforms all over the internet and your TV while they continue to have a strong presence in the sponsorship world.