Cryptocurrencies and Sports: a timeline of events and partnerships
Celebrity endorsement has been used as a successful marketing strategy for the past 259 years. Having your brand endorsed by a famous athlete or by a team is usually extremely lucrative, even though it could sometimes be a double-edged sword. When Tiger Woods was caught cheating on his wife, many of his sponsors withdrew their support. They were afraid they would lose a lot of customers if they kept supporting him. Remember Lance Armstrong? When he admitted to having used illegal substances to enhance performance, not only did his sponsors withdraw their support, but he was even sued by some of them. Athletes are humans and humans make mistakes that could hurt the companies they represent. Only a few months ago, Will Kassouf, a relatively famous poker player, was caught palming a 100$ chip at a casino, so his sponsor decided to part ways with him because of that. These are the exceptions, of course. Most partnerships prove to be advantageous to both the endorser and the endorsee.
Recently, a fair number of cryptocurrency projects have chosen to associate their brand with famous athletes and sports teams. This topic required quite a bit of research (it took me about 8 hours). Regardless, keep in mind that the list is not exhaustive.
*The Jetcoin cryptocurrency announces sponsorship of two Italian football teams: Hellas Verona F.C. and Chievo Verona.
*The Sacramento Kings become the first NBA team to accept Bitcoin for their products: tickets, jerseys, beer, hot dogs.
The St. Petersburg Bowl becomes the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl that year and is sponsored by Bitpay.
*Jamaican bobsled team raises about 30.000$ in Dogecoin and is able to join the Sochi Olympics.
*The Dogecoin community raises approximately $55,000 worth of Dogecoin to put the Doge logo on NASCAR driver Josh Wise’s racing car.
*Football superstar, Roberto Carlos, endorses SportyFi, a decentralized startup.
*Bitcoin Suisse signs a 3 year sponsorship deal with Danish hockey team, Rungsted Seier Capital.
*Nikolaj Rosenthal, a hockey player, opts to have his salary paid in Bitcoin.
*The Dash cryptocurrency sponsors mixed martial art fighters, Rory MacDonald and Chael Sonnen.
*Caroline Wozniacki becomes the Lympo cryptocurrency ambassador.
*The Dallas Mavericks announce partnerships with the Lympo and CyberMiles cryptocurrency projects.
*NBA player Stephen Curry endorses the CryptoKitties dApp.
*Ronaldinho launches his own cryptocurrency, the RSC (Ronaldinho Soccer Coin).
*Lothar Matthäus joins TokenStars, a blockchain company that tokenizes celebrities.
*James Rodriguez partners up with blockchain company SelfSell and launches his own JR10 token.
*CashBet signs a partnership with Premier League club, Arsenal.
*Boxer Floyd Mayweather endorses cryptocurrencies Stox and Centra. The Centra founders are charged with fraud.
*Lionel Messi endorses Sirin Labs blockchain based smartphone.
*Turkish amateur football team Harunustaspor becomes the world’s first team to pay with Bitcoin for a player’s transfer.
Michael Owen launches his own Cryptocurrency token.
*Ted-Jan Bloemen, a Canadian speed skater, becomes the second professional athlete after Nikolaj Rosenthal to be paid in cryptocurrency.
*Litecoin becomes the Official Partner of UFC 232, a mixed martial arts event.
*Antpool, a Bitcoin mining company, signs a sponsorship deal with the Houston Rockets for the 2018/2019 NBA season.
* eToro cryptocurrency exchange signs a sponsorship deal with 7 Premier League Football Clubs.
*Cryptocurrency project-CoinPoker-sponsors Japan Poker Cup, the biggest poker tournament in Japan as well as APT, the biggest poker tournament in Asia.
*Derby County F.C will be sponsored by Jetcoin cryptocurrency.
*European football team-Gibraltar United- will start paying its players with cryptocurrency.
* Verge cryptocurrency will be one of Gil Linster’s sponsors for his 2019 NASCAR season.
As I said before, this list is far from being complete. I couldn’t find much information for 2015 and 2016. If you find any mistakes or if you have more examples, please add them to the comments section. If you’ve read this far, thank you for your attention.
Picture 1: Fighter Rory MacDonald advertising the Dash project
Picture 2: Caroline Wozniacki becomes the Lympo ambassador
Picture 3: Hellas Verona F.C. wearing their Jetcoin sponsored uniforms
Picture 4: Mark Cuban and Dallas Mavericks partnering up with Lympo
Picture 5: Owen Coin
Picture 6: Jamaican bobsled team wearing Dogecoin T-shirts
Picture 7: CoinPoker sponsors Japan Poker Cup