Cryptocurrency companies and other blockchain business entities are investing significant money into sports sponsorships in their bid to attract a new brand of customers for their product, digital currency, and bring their assets into the mainstream. New research sheds light on the reason why.
Active fans are directly more familiar with cryptocurrency. Two of every three avid sports fans, in addition to 72% of sports bettors, confess to being familiar with the digital cryptocurrencies. Sports fans are also understood to prefer placing wagers on NFL lines using cryptocurrency as their payment method rather than the conventional cash or credit/debit cards.
Sports fans are twice as likely, as compared to other people, to be familiar with cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum and Bitcoin, and are three times more likely to confess to being “very familiar” with them. 40% of fans confessed to being familiar with the concept of cryptocurrency, in comparison with only 23% of non-sports fans and 39% of US adults overall.
This year we have seen cryptocurrency surprisingly emerge as the fastest-growing sponsorship category in the realm of sports, at least according to executives at agencies and sports properties that facilitate market deals and agreements. Cash-heavy crypto companies are looking towards the incredible influence and visibility that sports generate to raise awareness of their brands in this up-and-coming industry.
On the league level, Major League Baseball just signed a deal with FTX to display the crypto company’s logo on uniforms worn by umpires during games. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Formula 1 also signed deals with the site Crypto.com that are worth upwards of $17 million and $20 million, respectively.
Franchises that have partnered with crypto brands include the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, who signed on the dotted line with Crypto.com, the NBA’s Blazers and Heat, and Major League Soccer’s David Beckham, owner of Inter Miami.
Stephen Curry of the NBA’s Warriors also has an individual endorsement deal with FTX, while Tom Brady of the NFL’s Buccaneers endorses the same crypto brand. Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who happened to be the top pick in the latest NFL draft, also secured himself a sponsorship from Blockfolio.
Zack Sugarman, the senior vice president at Wasserman, says that brands in the crypto space practically have no limit when it comes to marketing and sponsorships. It’s confusing for consumers, so these brands require massive awareness and legitimacy. He says that companies can capitalize on this by creating high-visibility assets, such as jerseys, on TV and in the media.
The CEO of crypto asset-broker Voyager Digital, Steve Ehrlich, has been anticipating the crossover between sports fans and cryptocurrencies for a long time, especially for those who indulge in fantasy sports and wager on games.
While the man-in-charge refused to comment on anything gambling-related, he says that the crypto brands’ partnerships with frequently-watched entities such as sports franchises and celebrity athletes are very effective at reaching Generation Z and Millennials at the same time. This is something considered to be very difficult in the marketing industry.
He specifically mentioned the partnerships with crypto-savvy athletes such as NASCAR driver Landon Cassill and Tampa Bay tight end Rob Gronkowski while making the aforementioned point of these deals being highly effective. “Each time we’ve done one of these, it’s helped us grow the business and has given us more notoriety as a public company,” Ehrlich added.
Research has also unearthed that although Millennials are much more likely to proclaim themselves as sports fans, Gen Z is much less likely to do the same. Adding to this, members of Gen Z are much more likely to give priority to individual players over teams. This is something that’s frowned upon in the Millennial community, which is said to be the extension of the influencer culture.
Ziffren stated that the benefit of working alongside athletes is how effective it is at bringing awareness to younger generations. It is evident that athletes are an integral part of that effort.