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February 17, 2022

Crypto’s appearance at the Super Bowl cements its spending in sports sponsorship

By GlobalData Thematic Research

Cryptocurrency sponsorship deals exploded in 2021, with a 488% increase in the volume of cryptocurrency deals between 2020 and 2021, according to GlobalData Sport’s sponsorship database. Sunday’s Super Bowl also saw crypto dominating America’s most famous advertising slots, with Crypto.com, FTX, and Coinbase all securing 30-second slots worth $7 million each.

Crypto.com and FTX are high-spending sponsorship brands, thanks to their venue naming rights deals in Los Angeles (Crypto.com Arena) and Miami (FTX Arena). With big multi-year deals and an estimated sponsorship landscape of $742.38 million in 2022 according to GlobalData, crypto-sport spending will only increase in the next two years. However, regulation and scepticism could hamper its long-term success.

Super Bowl ads put crypto on the main stage

Sunday’s Super Bowl drew over 100 million live viewers, building significantly on 2021’s 91.6 million. Ads during the Super Bowl are so sought after, and so expensive, because of the sheer number of eyes on the screen. This year, three cryptocurrency businesses (Coinbase, Crypto.com, and FTX) had advertising slots, causing it to be coined the ‘Crypto Bowl’.

Coinbase’s ad received huge engagement. The 60-second ad involved a floating QR code, which 20 million people scanned, causing Coinbase’s site to crash. The presence of cryptocurrency ads, next to the established conglomerates, suggests the scale at which crypto has grown and bodes well for future investment and sponsorship in sport.

Crypto sponsorship spans multiple sports

Cryptocurrency sponsorship in sport has grown exponentially throughout 2021. The annual value of deals increased from $16.9 million in 2020 to $607.3 million in 2021, reflecting the success of cryptocurrency firms during the pandemic. GlobalData estimates that this will rise to $742.38 million in 2022, with a total contract value worth $3 billion.

Sponsorship spans a variety of sports. Soccer, basketball, and esports receive the most deals from cryptocurrency companies, and the NBA generates the most revenue, with deals for NBA-associated properties currently worth close to $136 million.

Over the next two years, sponsorship will increase and diversify to new sports and teams. In mid-February, Binance announced its sponsorship of the BWT Alpine F1 team, launching an Alpine virtual fan token. Other teams will also use crypto companies for new and innovative forms of fan engagement.

Regulation and scepticism will affect sponsorship

Cryptocurrency has been largely unregulated, allowing huge profits and sponsorship opportunities. However, this is unlikely to continue over the next five to ten years. Restrictions and regulations are emerging, with China banning crypto mining and trading outright.

Other countries are also investigating cryptocurrency regulation. In November 2021, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in the US published a Joint Statement on Crypto-Asset Policy Sprint Initiative and Next Steps. This included compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

We are unlikely to see any substantial restrictions on cryptocurrencies over the next few years, but this will not be the case in the long term.

The short-term future of crypto-sport sponsorship is positive

Sports associations and teams have been keen to capitalize on crypto and NFTs. With Covid-19 hitting traditional company sponsorship budgets, cryptocurrency companies have provided respite in the form of multi-million sponsorship deals. This is set to continue over the next one to two years, however, future regulations on crypto will affect the large revenues this largely unregulated industry has enjoyed so far, which will in term affect sponsorship deals