Top Crypto-Sponsored Sports Teams Globally in 2024

Whitney Anderson
Whitney Anderson
Technology Writer
Last updated: May 15, 2024
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The landscape of sports sponsorships has undergone a dramatic transformation since the cryptocurrency boom in 2021, with a notable increase in crypto sponsorships among leading sports teams. Companies such as Crypto.com and the now-defunct FTX have made significant investments in these partnerships, spending millions on renaming sports arenas and securing sponsorships with NBA teams, among other sports entities.

This strategic initiative by crypto companies, armed with substantial marketing budgets, is driven by a clear goal: to maximize brand visibility by tapping into the global unifying power of sports. The rationale is straightforward yet impactful—utilize the unparalleled global platform provided by sports to enhance brand recognition and reach a broad audience.

Given the dynamic synergy between sports and cryptocurrency sponsorship, we highlight the most valuable sports teams that have embraced crypto sponsorships. These partnerships not only reflect the growing influence of digital currency in mainstream sectors but also illustrate the evolving landscape of sports financing and marketing in the digital era.

Highlights

  • Crypto companies target sports brands for maximum brand awareness and credibility.
  • Crypto.com’s renaming of the Staples Center to Crypto.com Arena marks the largest crypto sponsorship.
  • FTX bankruptcy led to the collapse of many crypto sponsorship deals in 2022.
  • FC Barcelona’s partnership with Chiliz resulted in Chiliz acquiring a stake in Barca Studios.
  • PSG, Manchester United FC, and New England Patriots are among the top expensive crypto-backed sports teams.

The Leading Sports for Crypto Sponsorships and Partnerships

In the evolving world of sports sponsorships, cryptocurrency companies are strategically placing their marketing investments in arenas where they can achieve the greatest visibility and impact. The trend has leaned heavily towards partnering with prominent sports brands, known for their vast reach, youthful demographics, and strong brand integrity.

Among the myriad of sports, football stands out as a global juggernaut, drawing the attention of crypto companies keen on tapping into its universal appeal. Recognizing the unmatched global audience and fervor that football commands, Crypto.com made a significant move in 2022 by securing an official sponsorship for the FIFA World Cup, a partnership amounting to an undisclosed sum. In a parallel strategy to leverage football’s star power, Binance collaborated with football icon Cristiano Ronaldo to introduce a unique NFT collection, aiming to blend the worlds of sports fandom and digital collectibles seamlessly.

Crypto.com’s Chief Marketing Officer, Steven Kalifowitz, captured the essence of football’s unifying spirit, stating, “No sport brings the world together like football, and no sporting event brings the world together the way FIFA World Cup does.” This sentiment underscores the strategic importance of football in crypto companies’ marketing arsenals, aiming to foster a global community through the shared passion for the sport.

In the United States, basketball takes precedence over soccer, becoming a focal point for crypto sponsorships, especially during the 2021 cryptocurrency bull run. An unprecedented investment was observed when Crypto.com agreed to a staggering $700 million deal for a 20-year naming rights agreement to transform the Staples Center into Crypto.com Arena. This iconic venue, home to NBA’s LA Lakers and LA Clippers, along with the ice hockey team LA Kings, symbolized the ambitious scope of crypto sponsorships in sports.

Conversely, FTX Exchange entered into a naming rights agreement with NBA’s Miami Heat for their stadium, a deal valued at $135 million. This partnership intended to rename their venue to FTX Arena, although it was subsequently terminated following FTX’s bankruptcy in 2022.

Racing, particularly Formula One (F1), is another sport that has garnered considerable attention from crypto sponsors. Various F1 teams have embraced crypto sponsorships, with the BWT Alpine F1 team taking the initiative to launch its crypto fan token, $ALPINE, in partnership with Binance. This move not only underscores the growing synergy between sports and cryptocurrency but also highlights the innovative ways teams are engaging with fans through digital platforms.

The influx of crypto sponsorships across these sports illustrates the strategic alignment between the dynamic worlds of cryptocurrency and sports entertainment. By associating with football, basketball, and Formula One, crypto companies are not just aiming to enhance brand awareness but are also fostering deeper connections with diverse and global audiences, setting the stage for a new era of sports marketing.

The World’s Top Crypto-Sponsored Sports Teams

The surge in cryptocurrency’s popularity has not only revolutionized the financial world but has also made a significant impact on global sports sponsorships. In an era where digital currencies are becoming increasingly mainstream, numerous high-profile sports teams have entered into lucrative partnerships with leading crypto platforms.

These alliances highlight the growing intersection between sports and the digital economy, showcasing how top teams are embracing innovation to enhance their brand visibility and fan engagement. Below, we delve into the most valuable sports teams globally that have secured crypto sponsorships, reflecting the symbiotic relationship between these two dynamic industries.

TeamCrypto PlatformForbes Valuation (2023)
1Dallas CowboysBlockchain.com$9 billion
2New England PatriotsChain$7 billion
3Manchester United FCTezos$6 billion
4FC BarcelonaChiliz$5.508 billion
5Liverpool FCSorare$5.288 billion
6Manchester City FCOKX$4.99 billion
7FC Bayern MunichBitpanda$4.86 billion
8Atlanta FalconsSocios.com$4.7 billion
9Baltimore RavensSocios.com$4.63 billion
10Paris Saint-GermainCrypto.com$4.21 billion

This list represents a diverse range of sports, from American football to soccer, showcasing the universal appeal of crypto sponsorships across different leagues and continents. The Dallas Cowboys lead the pack with a staggering $9 billion valuation, making them the pinnacle of crypto-backed sports teams, closely followed by the New England Patriots and Manchester United FC, both giants in their respective fields.

Each team has partnered with a crypto platform that aligns with their vision for innovation and global reach, from Blockchain.com’s pioneering digital finance solutions to Tezos’s cutting-edge blockchain technology and Chiliz’s fan engagement platforms. These partnerships not only reflect the financial muscle and market appeal of these teams but also their willingness to pioneer the adoption of digital currencies, opening up new revenue streams and enhancing fan experiences worldwide.

10. Paris Saint-Germain

In a landmark deal signed in September 2021, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) joined forces with Crypto.com, establishing the latter as the official cryptocurrency platform partner of the renowned football club. A highlight of this partnership was the innovative approach to sponsorship fees, with a notable portion settled in Crypto.com’s native cryptocurrency token, CRO, showcasing a significant embrace of digital currencies within the sports sponsorship domain.

This agreement also paved the way for the launch of exclusive PSG-themed Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) on Crypto.com’s platform, merging the worlds of sports fandom with the burgeoning NFT market. This initiative offered PSG fans a unique opportunity to own digital memorabilia, enhancing fan engagement through the lens of cryptocurrency and digital art.

Reflecting on its valuation at $4.21 billion in Forbes’ 2023 rankings of the most valuable sports teams, PSG’s partnership with Crypto.com signifies more than just a financial transaction. It represents a strategic pivot towards integrating cryptocurrency into its broader commercial strategy, marking a significant step in the convergence of sports, finance, and technology.

9. Baltimore Ravens

In April 2022, the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens embarked on a strategic partnership with Socios.com, a leading fan token platform. This collaboration marked a significant step forward in enhancing fan experiences, leveraging Socios.com’s innovative approach to fan engagement. Through this deal, the Ravens were able to offer their supporters exclusive rewards, including passes for training camps and game-day hospitality, directly connecting fans with the team in unprecedented ways.

The partnership also provided Socios.com with prominent in-stadium branding opportunities, including signage and the title sponsorship of fan polls. Moreover, it granted Socios the rights to host fan giveaways, such as game tickets, further integrating the platform into the Ravens’ fan engagement strategies. These initiatives were designed to deepen the connection between the team and its supporters, offering them new ways to engage and participate in team-related activities.

Valued at $4.63 billion and ranked 28th on Forbes’ 2023 list of the most valuable sports teams, the Baltimore Ravens’ deal with Socios.com illustrates the growing intersection between sports franchises and digital platforms.

8. Atlanta Falcons

The NFL’s Atlanta Falcons have entered into an innovative marketing partnership with Socios.com, announced in April 2022. This strategic alliance introduces a novel method of fan engagement, promising a suite of unique rewards and experiences. By offering game tickets and autographed merchandise through social media giveaways, the Falcons aim to deepen their connection with fans, making the sports viewing experience more interactive and rewarding.

Furthermore, the partnership extends to the Falcons’ official team mobile app, where Socios.com received prominent branding. This integration ensures constant visibility for Socios.com among the Falcons’ digital audience, enhancing the fan experience through technology.

Valued at $4.7 billion and ranked 26th on Forbes’ 2023 list of the most valuable sports teams, the Atlanta Falcons’ deal with Socios.com represents a forward-thinking approach to fan engagement. By integrating digital platforms like Socios.com into their engagement strategies, the Falcons are at the forefront of utilizing technology to enrich the fan experience, setting a precedent for how sports teams can engage with their audiences in the digital age.

7. FC Bayern Munich

In January 2024, FC Bayern Munich, the reigning champions of the Bundesliga, embarked on a groundbreaking partnership with Bitpanda, an Austrian cryptocurrency exchange. This significant multi-year agreement marks a pivotal moment for the German football club, integrating the burgeoning world of cryptocurrency with elite sports sponsorship.

Under the terms of this partnership, Bitpanda is set to become the official cryptocurrency partner of FC Bayern Munich. The collaboration extends beyond mere branding, encompassing a comprehensive package of benefits including TV exposure, opportunities for player activation, and prominent stadium visibility. This strategic alliance not only highlights Bitpanda’s commitment to expanding its presence in the sports industry but also underscores FC Bayern Munich’s forward-thinking approach to embracing digital finance solutions.

Valued at $4.86 billion and securing the 24th spot on Forbes’ 2023 list of the most valuable sports teams, FC Bayern Munich’s collaboration with Bitpanda represents a significant milestone in sports financing and marketing.

6. Manchester City FC

On June 30, 2023, Manchester City FC, the celebrated champions of the English Premier League (EPL), announced a significant partnership with cryptocurrency exchange OKX. This three-year agreement established OKX as the official sleeve sponsor for both the men’s and women’s first teams, marking a notable collaboration in the sports and digital finance sectors.

The sponsorship deal, valued at £55 million, prominently places the OKX brand on the playing kits of Manchester City’s first teams, enhancing the visibility of the cryptocurrency platform among football fans worldwide. This partnership follows an earlier agreement in July 2022, where Manchester City FC named OKX as its official training kit partner, laying the groundwork for a deeper association between the two entities.

With a valuation of $4.99 billion, Manchester City FC stands as the 23rd most valuable sports team according to Forbes’ 2023 rankings. The club’s engagement with OKX not only underscores its position at the forefront of adopting innovative marketing strategies but also reflects the growing integration of cryptocurrency enterprises within the global sports landscape.

5. Liverpool FC

In a strategic move to deepen its engagement with digital and fantasy sports communities, Liverpool FC announced in September 2022 an expanded partnership with Sorare, the NFT-based fantasy sports platform. While the financial details remain undisclosed, this collaboration marks a significant step in blending traditional sports with the burgeoning world of digital collectibles and online gaming.

Through this deal, Sorare is authorized to continue creating and offering digital card collectibles featuring Liverpool FC players. These digital assets allow fans, collectors, and gamers worldwide to collect, trade, and utilize them within Sorare’s fantasy football game. This innovative approach to fan engagement leverages the global appeal of Liverpool players, offering a unique, interactive experience that extends beyond the pitch.

Positioned as the 20th most valuable sports team in Forbes’ 2023 rankings, with a valuation of $5.288 billion, Liverpool FC’s alliance with Sorare underscores the club’s commitment to adopting cutting-edge technology for fan engagement. This partnership not only enriches the fan experience by providing new ways to interact with the club and its players but also signifies the growing integration of NFTs and blockchain technology within the sports industry, heralding a new era of digital sports fandom.

4. FC Barcelona

On August 2, 2022, FC Barcelona embarked on a groundbreaking collaboration with Chiliz, a leading sports-focused blockchain provider, marking a significant milestone in the intersection of sports and digital innovation. Chiliz acquired a substantial 24.5% stake in FC Barcelona’s digital content hub, Barca Studios, for an investment of $100 million. This strategic move was part of FC Barcelona’s broader initiative to generate capital, particularly aimed at bolstering the club’s financial capacity to sign new players and enhance its competitive edge on the field.

The partnership represented a win-win scenario for both entities. For Chiliz, the investment opened avenues to engage with FC Barcelona’s extensive global fanbase through cutting-edge digital projects, including the creation and distribution of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), immersive metaverse experiences, and innovative merchandising opportunities. This collaboration allowed Chiliz to leverage FC Barcelona’s iconic brand and widespread popularity to pioneer new forms of fan engagement and community building within the digital realm.

Ranked as the 18th most valuable sports team globally by Forbes in 2023, with a valuation of $5.508 billion, FC Barcelona’s alliance with Chiliz underscores the club’s forward-looking approach to embracing technology and digital content creation. This partnership not only opens up new revenue streams for the club but also enhances its brand presence in the digital and blockchain spaces, signaling the evolving dynamics of fan interaction and the increasing role of digital finance in shaping the future of sports sponsorship and fan engagement strategies.

3. Manchester United FC

Manchester United inked a pivotal deal with blockchain giant Tezos in February 2022, introducing the blockchain brand onto the football club’s training kits through a partnership reportedly worth over £20 million annually. This collaboration is aimed at revolutionizing fan experiences by leveraging blockchain technology for innovative engagement and supporting the Manchester United Foundation with donations in Tezos’ native cryptocurrency, TEZ.

Valued at $6 billion and ranked 13th in Forbes’ 2023 list of the world’s most valuable sports teams, Manchester United’s partnership with Tezos exemplifies a progressive step towards integrating blockchain in sports. It showcases a commitment to enhancing fan interaction and contributing to social causes, setting a precedent in the sports industry for technological adoption and community engagement.

2. The New England Patriots

In a strategic move, the New England Patriots, in collaboration with Kraft Sports + Entertainment, unveiled a significant multi-year sponsorship agreement with Chain in September 2022. Chain, a forefront web3 software company, was named the official blockchain and web3 sponsor for the team. The partnership also extends to the New England Revolution soccer team, which shares Gillette Stadium with the Patriots.

This deal highlights the merging paths of professional sports and advanced technology sectors, bringing a fresh perspective on fan interaction and backend efficiencies. With the Patriots’ valuation at $7 billion in 2023 by Forbes, making them the third-most valuable sports team, their alliance with Chain underscores a forward-thinking approach in sports franchising, emphasizing the importance of digital innovation in enhancing the fan experience and operational processes.

1. The Dallas Cowboys

In a groundbreaking move for the National Football League (NFL), the Dallas Cowboys announced a pioneering sponsorship agreement with Blockchain.com in April 2022, marking the first instance of an NFL team entering into a partnership with a cryptocurrency exchange. This innovative collaboration involves an array of engagement opportunities, including branding, advertising, exclusive content, event opportunities, and prominent stadium signage.

The essence of this partnership extends to the digital space, enabling fans to engage with unique Dallas Cowboys content directly through their Blockchain.com wallets, enhancing the fan experience with a blend of sports excitement and digital currency insights. As of 2023, the Dallas Cowboys stand as the pinnacle of sports team valuations, crowned by Forbes with an impressive valuation of $9 billion, symbolizing not just their dominance on the field but also their pioneering spirit in embracing the digital age and new technological frontiers.

The Recovery of Crypto Sponsorships in Sports

The crypto winter of 2022 severely impacted sports sponsorships, notably with the collapse of FTX, which had significant deals with entities like Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. This left a void in sponsorship revenue for many sports teams. However, the beginning of 2024 marks a positive shift, signaling a resurgence in crypto sponsorships within the sports sector. Notably, FC Bayern Munich’s new deal with Bitpanda and Chelsea Football Club’s partnership with BingX demonstrate the industry’s recovery and the continued allure of sports as a valuable platform for crypto brands. These partnerships reflect a cautious yet optimistic approach towards leveraging the global reach of sports for brand visibility, indicating a rebound from previous setbacks and highlighting a hopeful outlook for future crypto sponsorships in sports.

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Whitney Anderson
Whitney Anderson
Whitney Anderson is a dynamic technology writer and content creator known for her quick learning and strong interpersonal skills. With a passion for community service and travel, she excels in crafting engaging tech content and leading diverse teams. Whitney is eager to bring her tech expertise and creativity to make a significant impact in your organization.

Why Trust Us

Our editorial policy emphasizes accuracy, relevance, and impartiality, with content crafted by experts and rigorously reviewed by seasoned editors for top-notch reporting and publishing standards.

Disclosure
Purchases via our affiliate links may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you, and by using this site, you agree to our terms and privacy policy.

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