Dunk

Crypto.com sponsors LeBron’s home stadium for $700M to win over sports fans

Thursday, November 18, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures
See you at Crypto.com Arena [peepio/E+ via Getty Images]

See you at Crypto.com Arena [peepio/E+ via Getty Images]

Home-court advantage… Crypto.com just bought it. The world’s fastest-growing crypto exchange struck a 20-year deal reportedly worth $700M — one of the largest of its kind — to rename LA’s famous Staples Center. The Staples Center is home to the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, the WNBA’s Sparks, and the NHL’s Kings, and has been named after the office-supplies retailer for 22 years. Its new name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue: Crypto.com Arena.

  • Crypto’s second stadium: Rival crypto exchange FTX bought the naming rights to the Miami Heat’s stadium earlier this year in a 19-year deal worth $135M.

Crypto’s courtship with sports… is bigger than stadiums. Crypto.com has spent hundreds of millions sponsoring NBA, NHL, European soccer, UFC, Formula One, and esports teams. Other big players in the crypto industry have also embraced pro sports branding deals:

  • Crypto <3s sports: Crypto-finance company XBTO sponsors the MLS’ Inter Miami, and crypto startup StormX sponsors the Portland Trail Blazers. NFL stars Tom Brady and Trevor Lawrence are also sponsored by FTX and Blockfolio.
  • Fantasy tie-ins: Many sports fans already participate in fantasy-sports leagues, which are increasingly embracing NFTs and other crypto-powered features.
  • Marketing play: Crypto.com’s CEO said the company planned “to be a top brand in the coming years, next to Nike and Apple.”
THE TAKEAWAY

Know your audience… if you want them to know you. Sports fans have been found to be twice as likely as non-sports fans to be familiar with crypto. Pro sports are embedded in mainstream culture, from video games to athletes’ social feeds. That’s why crypto giants are looking to sports to accelerate crypto mainstreamification. After raising awareness among sports fans, Crypto.com and other companies might leverage their visibility to claim an even bigger place in the zeitgeist.