Beer brand Budweiser and sports apparel firm PUMA, both veterans in the sports sponsorship space, are combining their sponsorships with implementing non-fungible tokens (NFTs). They have partnered with former NBA player Dwayne Wade and Premier League club Manchester City respectively. Budweiser’s campaign will promote its zero-alcohol beer and PUMA’s will celebrate City’s tenth anniversary of its first league title.
All the parties involved in the projects are already familiar with NFTs. Budweiser and PUMA have launched previous collections focusing on their own brands. Wade dropped a collection with Dapper Labs last November, and City was on its third NFT drop by January of this year.
It was only a matter of time until NFTs made their way into sport sponsorships as part of promotional campaigns. If the projects are appropriately managed, they can help to transfer the “gloss” from the sports brand onto the sponsor.
Budweiser and PUMA are some of the firsts to make this move, but others will likely follow.
The Budweiser Zero beer brand will launch a standard three-tier scarcity collection featuring an unlimited supply of Wade’s Decentraland Metaverse Jersey, limited edition signed cans, and a single NFT that grants a real-life experience with the player. All NFTs will be priced at $180 and include a $59 flat fee for purchase rather than a fluctuating gas fee.
PUMA’s campaign is more exclusive. The brand and the club have partnered with a digital artist to design a one-of-a-kind piece celebrating the minute when Sergio Aguero scored the winning goal. In addition, there are 120 NFT editions of digital PUMA boots resembling those worn by Aguero.
As this is a new field in sponsorship, it is likely that some mistakes will be made. There will be challenges that first movers will have to address, such as understanding the extent of utility that fans want from NFTs, adjusting pricing and scarcity, and managing exclusivity appropriately.
Meanwhile, blockchain companies are themselves major sponsors in the sports industry. Crypto.com will sponsor FIFA’s football World Cup, Bybit sponsors Argentina national football team, and FTX US sponsors the NBA warriors.