There are a lot of people who still do not understand the value of cryptocurrency, and that is OK. As it is with most things in life, there are new items that will take time to develop and go mainstream, though it seems like cryptocurrency is taking a bit longer.
What most people do not know is that it can be used to play online casino games, is a safe way to pay for items or transfer money, and is expected to become the currency of the future.
Now, how soon does that happen? We will see. But one thing is for sure, and that is that cryptocurrency growing in the sports industry can only be good for that market.
There is a wide variety of demographics that watch various sports. Some crypto companies have dipped into sponsoring different venues, and even star athletes are dipping their hands into the crypto world.
Here is a look at some of the stars who are using or championing crypto and how the industry is using the sports world to grow its footprint.
Stars With Crypto Deals
The professional athletes who are taking or converting deals into payments of cryptocurrency are bold for doing so. Their names have been wrongly attached to negative headlines when the cryptocurrency market dips simply because they opted to convert their deal and take those risks. The big difference is that they are facing unintended consequences when they have no control over the cryptocurrency market.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence partnered with Blockfolio to have part of his rookie contract signing bonus converted into cryptocurrency. Lawrence won a national championship at Clemson and led one of the best turnarounds in the NFL as the former No. 1 overall pick took the Jags to the playoffs this past season.
Fellow former No. 1 overall pick, Cade Cunningham of the Detroit Pistons, landed a sponsorship deal with crypto lender BlockFi, which converted part of his signing bonus and $46.5 million rookie contract into cryptocurrency.
More established stars have can afford the risk and have taken those opportunities. Golden State Warriors teammates Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson made deals. They partnered with Cash App to receive part of their compensation in bitcoin, and Iguodala said he would give out $1 million worth of bitcoin to fans to increase awareness and adoption.
Two-way baseball star Shohei Ohtani was one of FTX’s global ambassadors, an organization that has faced massive scrutiny over fraudulent accusations and bankruptcy. Ohtani was expected to be compensated in cryptocurrency along with an equity stake in FTX as part of the deal.
At a Team Level
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has made his organization “at the forefront of innovation,” he said when they announced an agreement with Voyager Digital to expand their crypto footprint. But before that partnership in 2021, Cuban was already making strides.
The Mavericks began accepting bitcoin in 2019 as a form of payment for merchandise and game tickets. They have since added Dogecoin to their portfolio, and both are processed through BitPay.
The new wave of digital assets and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) goes beyond partnerships and payments, though. An organization called Top Shot has put out numbered highlights, similar to old-school trading cards, but they live in the digital space. These NFTs can be traded, collected, bought individually, or acquired through packs and be resold.
There is a competitor in the space already with Sorare. They sponsored an event that NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke at when the NBA international games took place in France. Sorare is a similar concept, except it is tradable digital cards that form fantasy lineups and give people an opportunity to win prizes, such as tickets to games, merchandise, meet-and-greets, and more.
But those partnerships also exist. FTX noticeably had its branding on Major League Baseball umpire’s uniforms. That gave them exposure to every fan who attended a game or watched it on television. FTX also secured the naming rights to the Miami Heat’s arena, though that has since been scrapped.
The best deal, perhaps, was Crypto.com purchasing the naming rights to the arena in Los Angeles that houses the Lakers, Clippers, Sparks, and Kings.