Cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com will be sponsoring this year’s largest sporting event, the 2022 FIFA World Cup, in Qatar. The agreement will make Crypto.com an exclusive cryptocurrency trading platform for the tournament.
Crypto sponsors are no longer a novelty in the world of football. In 2021, deals of this kind were unveiled in almost every major league in Europe, including Crypto.com’s sponsorship of Italy’s Serie A and EToro’s deals, which cover more than half of the clubs in the Premier League.
A 2018 FIFA World Cup sponsorship cost between $9 and $23 million, according to sponsorship analytics firm Hookit. For a company such as Crypto.com that signed a $700 million 20-year naming rights contract with LA’s former Staples Center, a $175 million deal with the UFC, and a $100 million sponsorship with Formula 1, it might not seem like much.
That investment might pay off. FIFA World Cup took the top spot of SportsPro’s 50 Most Marketable Properties for two years in a row. The global exposure that sponsoring FIFA provides is almost incomparable, and will give Crypto.com some competitive advantage over direct competitor FTX.
“Crypto.com has already demonstrated a commitment to supporting top-tier teams and leagues, major events and iconic venues across the world, and there is no platform bigger, or with a greater reach and cultural impact, than FIFA’s global platform of football,” said Kay Madati, FIFA’s Chief Commercial Officer.
Some resistance to crypto
Despite the rise in popularity, some fan groups and regulatory bodies have not welcomed crypto deals and sponsorships with open arms. Like betting, the volatility and risks involved with crypto are of concern. Some worry that these sponsorships and partnerships can take advantage of fan loyalty, encouraging them to make uninformed spending in crypto.
Manchester City had a deal with a mysterious company called 3Key Technology which fell apart only days after the announcement because nobody seemed to be able to find any information on it. And Arsenal got into trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority due to its fan token deal on the grounds of “taking advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity, trivializing investment in crypto assets, misleading consumers over the risk of investment and not making it clear the ‘token’ was a crypto asset”. The Premier League also investigated crypto sponsorships.
Crypto.com is a much more established and well recognized platform and hence it is less likely that FIFA will encounter a backlash over the matter.
Meanwhile, FTX is sponsoring the NBA’s Warriors, and Bybit is sponsoring the Argentinian national football team.