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Tezos blockchain to sponsor Manchester United training gear

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Blockchain platform Tezos will be sponsoring top Premier League soccer club Manchester United’s training kit. The deal is worth £20 million ($27m) per year and should start this season, The Athletic reported. The club has not confirmed the news. Update: Six days later ManU confirmed the news, not the amount.

Manchester United is one of the world’s most recognized sports brands, with an estimated brand value of $1.65 billion. Last year, the team sold 1.95 million jerseys, ranking fourth in soccer club shirt sales worldwide, and currently has 54.6 million followers on Instagram. The acquisition of Cristiano Ronaldo in August of last year contributed to the club’s profile and commercial value.

Last season Manchester United’s eight year sponsorship deal with insurance firm Aon ended. It has since been in conversations with various potential sponsors. 

Tezos is stepping into big shoes. A presence on Manchester United’s training kit is one of the most effective single outlets for brand exposure in the sports industry. And the relationship with the club opens the door to other potential collaborations through blockchain.

Aon’s agreement was for £15 million per year. Tezos will be paying £5 million more.

Besides the added commercial value that Ronaldo has brought to the club, another reason for the higher fees with Tezos might be related to blockchain.

The Premier League recently investigated clubs’ crypto deals and advised caution due to the lack of regulation in the industry, price volatility, and vulnerability of younger fans who lack knowledge on the subject. In December, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority censured Arsenal Football Club over crypto activities.

That complaint was about promoting fan tokens, one of the most common crypto-related products in English football. Socios, a popular fan token platform, has partnerships with Manchester CityEverton, Aston Villa, Arsenal and Leeds. Some fans claim fan tokens offer benefits that fans previously received for free. West Ham faced so much backlash it had to go back on its decision to launch the token. 

As for Tezos, it has sponsorship and non-fungible token (NFT) deals with Formula 1 teams McLaren and Red Bull.

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