‘Crypto and sports’ seems to be the partnership for the future. There are multiple clubs around the world across different sports using cryptocurrencies and creating their own non-fungible tokens (NFTs), even the idea of NFT tickets has been thrown around.
As the world moves into a new era, sports teams are also embracing a new, more modern method of income for themselves, where they earn a percentage of the secondary market sales.
Today we look at some of the top and noteworthy cryptocurrency deals that have taken place in the world of football.
Inter Milan and Zytara Labs
Italian heavyweights Inter Milan signed a multi-year deal reported to be worth US$100 million with blockchain firm Zytara Labs in September 2021.
The deal provides the Italian side access to crypto products and give them a chance to create football NFT collectibles, which the fans can buy and enjoy. Apart from DigitalBits becoming the club’s shirt sponsor, the blockchain network serves as the club’s official global cryptocurrency partner, with Zytara Labs’ banking platform also joining as the club’s official global digital banking partner.
The deal also sees production of limited and customised Inter Milan merchandise, which the fans can buy using the XDB tokens. The club have also set up XDB payments at their stadium (San Siro) and online.
Zytara is also set to work with Inter to develop the club’s mobile app and integrate its banking technology with it, so that the fans will be able to access all crypto-based products and match tickets.
In 2018, Juventus signed a multi-year deal with blockchain and crypto platform Socios.com to create the Juventus Official Fan Token. Through this token, the aim was to increase global fan engagement using blockchain technology.
The Italian team were the first club in the world to launch a Fan Token, and their supporters have been using them since then to access engagement and other exciting opportunities. Fans have the opportunity to participate in mobile voting and state their suggestions regarding certain matters.
While signing up with Juventus, Socios.com’s co-founder, Alexandre Dreyfus, had mentioned the firm’s plan to onboard more than 50 football clubs and inject more than US$300 million into the sports economy.
In early 2021, English champions Manchester City also teamed up with Socios.com, which saw the cryptocurrency platform develop an exclusive fan token for the club. City fans now have the opportunity to use $CITY fan tokens to access rewards, club promotions, games, augmented reality (AR) features and voting rights in club polls on Socios.com.
These $CITY tokens, like the Fan Tokens of every Socios-partnered club, are minted on the Chiliz blockchain platform.
The City deal also gave one free $CITY token to each registered fan.
According to an official release from Manchester City, the total fan token market cap has exceeded US$400 million, while Chiliz’s $CHZ currency is among the top 35 cryptocurrencies in the world, with a market cap of US$3.3 billion.
PSV Eindhoven and Anycoin Direct
PSV Eindhoven signed a partnership with Dutch crypto trading platform Anycoin Direct in 2021 and became the very first major football club in Europe to have the entire deal paid in Bitcoin.
Despite having multiple options of international firms, the Dutch club decided to go local to promote and grow the awareness of crypto across the region and Europe.
The two-year deal sees Anycoin Direct become an Official Partner of the club and develop the necessary wallets to facilitate crypto payments for the club in the future.
Before inking a deal with Anycoin Direct, PSV Eindhoven had launched their inaugural NFT collection that commemorated their European Cup victory over SL Benfica in 1988.
French giants Paris Saint-Germain announced a multi-year partnership with Crypto.com in September 2021. The deal sees the cryptocurrency platform become the official cryptocurrency platform partner of the club, with exclusive customised NFTs released on Crypto.com’s website.
What makes this deal so unique is that a significant portion of the sponsorship deal is set to be paid using cryptocurrency token CRO.
In May 2021, Serie A became the first football league to sign up with a cryptocurrency platform. The Italian league join hands with Crypto.com days ahead of the 2021 Coppa Italia final.
The long-term deal saw Crypto.com release an exclusive NFT collection for the Coppa Italia final. Building on this partnership, ahead of the 2021/22 season, the Hong Kong-headquartered cryptocurrency firm also became the league’s first ‘Innovation and Technology Partner’.
The Serie A partnership also sees Crypto.com serve as the presenting partner of the Goal Line Technology and Virtual Assistant Referee for all Serie A matches. The league’s VAR Centre in Lissone is also rebranded to Crypto.com VAR. Along with this, Crypto.com has also become the presenter of the Serie A Goal of the Month.
AC Milan and BitMex
Italian giants AC Milan signed a long-term partnership with BitMex in August 2021. The deal sees BitMex join the Italian club as their Official Sleeve Sponsor and Official Crypto Trading Partner.
The Seychelles-based company, which is also one of the world’s leading crypto derivatives platform, is AC Milan’s first-ever sleeve sponsor, with its logo on the sleeves of both the men’s and the women’s teams’ jerseys, while also featuring on the sleeve of AC Milan’s esports team AQM’s outfit.
The deal is also BitMex’s first-ever sponsorship deal in football and esports, with the company looking to grow beyond solely cryptocurrency-based products.