Whether people fully understand it or not, the growing popularity of cryptocurrency doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. For even more evidence that cryptocurrency is here to stay, look no further than the budding relationship between crypto and pro sports. For whatever reason, the two seem to be a good fit for one another, and the bond seems to be only getting stronger. So let’s take a closer look at the growing relationship between pro sports and cryptocurrency.
Match Made in Heaven
It’s no coincidence that there is a large cross-section between sports and cryptocurrency. Where there are sports, there are people who are betting. Where there are people who are betting, there are people who are curious about new and compelling investment opportunities like cryptocurrencies. Therefore, there is a strong connection between sports and crypto. Data suggests that sports fans are twice as likely to be interested in cryptocurrencies and sports bettors are four times more likely to be involved in crypto. In addition, it’s been suggested that half of sports bettors have traded cryptocurrencies at some point.
At the same time, the crypto industry understands that it needs to keep continuing its base of investors. As a result, the industry has pushed to form sponsorship and commercial deals with pro sports leagues and individual teams. Sports fans have been an ideal target for all forms of marketing for a long time, and the cryptocurrency industry has been no exception, making pro sports and crypto perfect partners for one another.
Teams and Players on Board
Of course, it’s not as if the crypto industry is forcing itself down the throat of pro sports franchises and their fans. On the contrary, teams, fans, and players all seem to be going willingly with crypto integrating itself into the pro sports world in various ways.
The Sacramento Kings were among the trailblazers, becoming the first pro sports franchise to accept cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as payment for tickets in 2014. More recently, the Kings have given everyone in the organization the option of being paid in cryptocurrencies. In addition, players in several pro leagues have announced that they would be willing to accept at least part of their salary in the form of crypto. In fact, after becoming the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence’s signing bonus came in the form of a crypto portfolio. In May of 2019, Panthers’ Russell Okung tweeted that he wanted his NFL salary to be paid in crypto. In December of 2020, he found a way to make that a reality taking half of his $13 million salary in bitcoin and fiat.
Even some of the most high-profile people in pro sports have expressed their support for the crypto world. For example, Greenbay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers just recently announced that he’s taking a portion of his salary in bitcoin via CashApp. Tom Brady has his own non-fungible token (NFT), which is quickly becoming a way for fans to collect sports memorabilia. Meanwhile, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has long been admired for his business savvy, has publicly stated his support for Dogecoin.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley says he’s accepting his endorsement payments in Bitcoin. “I’m taking my marketing money in Bitcoin,” Barkley said during an interview on The Best Business Show, hosted by Anthony Pompliano.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) June 29, 2021
If folks like Brady and Cuban are getting on the crypto bandwagon, it’s clearly not going away anytime soon.
Long Time to Come
Sports fans should get used to seeing the connection between sports and cryptocurrency grow even more in the years to come. Crypto.com, in particular, has signed a 10-year, $175 million partnership with UFC and a five-year, $100 million partnership with Formula 1. However, its biggest coup was scoring the naming rights of the Staples Center. Starting in December 2021 , the Lakers and Clippers will be playing their home games at Crypto.com Arena in a deal worth $700 million over 20 years. That’s almost $1 Billion in sponsored partnerships alone.
In other words, one of the most noteworthy venues in the country for sports and entertainment will be named after a cryptocurrency platform, making it clear that the relationship between sports and crypto will be a long one.