Japanese Major League Baseball (MLB) player Shohei Ohtani has joined cryptocurrency exchange FTX’s network as a brand ambassador. Ohtani joins a list of high-profile names representing FTX, including American Football player Tom Brady, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, and NBA player Stephen Curry.
As evident by the world-class athletes in its ambassadors’ roster, FTX is no novice to sponsorship deals in the sports industry. The cryptocurrency exchange was one of the first crypto companies to land a sponsorship with a professional sports league in June when it signed a five-year contract with the MLB. Before that, it completed a $210 million team naming rights deal with esports team SoloMid and a $135 million stadium rights deal with NBA’s Miami Heat.
FTX was founded in 2017 by MIT graduates experienced in tech and finance, none of whom are yet 30 years of age. The big spending on sports sponsorships could increase brand exposure exponentially.
Many iconic athletes already have some interest in crypto, and these are the people with the ability to influence millions of fans to follow in their footsteps.
Other cryptocurrency exchanges, especially Crypto.com, are also jumping on board the crypto sports sponsorships boat. The crypto exchange just signed a $700 million 20-year deal with the LA Staples Center, home of NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, NHL’s Kings and WNBA’s Sparks, to rename the stadium Crypto.com Arena. It is also sponsoring leading football team PSG and the UFC in an agreement that includes the commercialization of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Regarding the new brand ambassador partnership with Shohei Ohtani, part of his payment will be in crypto, which enhances the rhetoric of his belief in the industry and FTX. The baseball player will also serve as a spokesperson and participate in a series of initiatives promoted by the company.
“As a company that is revolutionizing the digital asset ecosystem and greater financial landscape, we are continuously looking for partners that share our commitment to being a leader in their respective space,” said FTX’s founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried
“Shohei has become a transcendent player in baseball in just a short period of time and this, combined with his support of digital assets, made it an easy choice to enter into a partnership with him. Off the field, Shohei has a passion for bettering the global community, something both he and FTX share, and we’re excited to partner with Shohei on various charitable initiatives, particularly with a focus on helping animals.”
Meanwhile, FTX has deep pockets, having raised more than $1.4 billion in funding this year. It entered the NFT space with production company Dolphin. The two have developed a digital marketplace for mainstream digital assets.