The massive sports marketing push by crypto companies has never been as evident as it will be on your TV during Super Bowl LVI.
On February 13, the Cincinnati Bengals will face the Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles. And the broadcast will feature more crypto than ever before.
FTX, the $32 billion crypto derivatives exchange that has been on a sports marketing spending spree in the past year, bought a Super Bowl ad in October. Just days before Christmas, rival exchange Crypto.com followed suit.
The cost of an ad in this year’s game (Super Bowl LVI) is $6.5 million for just 30 seconds of airtime—but these crypto exchanges are flush with revenue from trading fees as crypto soared during the pandemic.
Of course, the crypto Super Bowl ads are just part of a larger trend. Cryptocurrency exchanges like FTX, Crypto.com, Coinbase, and Binance are pouring millions into sports marketing to reach new customers and amplify their name recognition.
And FTX and Crypto.com may not be the only crypto names we see in this year’s Super Bowl.
Crypto’s sports push
Big crypto companies are pivoting to sports advertising for one massive reason: recognition.
“We are really coming from behind on name recognition. When someone’s looking to get involved in crypto for the first time, we’ve found that they haven’t heard of FTX,” FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried told Decrypt at a live event last November.
“Going into different sports just allows me to reach everybody where they are. Super Bowl is just one more step into that, where it’s as mass as you get,” echoed Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek to the WSJ last month. (It remains to be seen whether Crypto.com will re-air its much-hated Matt Damon ad or deliver something new.)
And while both FTX and Crypto.com have spent millions on Super Bowl ads, it is far from the first time the rival companies have put their names on sports events, sports arenas, or even sports jerseys.
In November 2021, Crypto.com paid a reported $700 million for the naming rights to the Los Angeles Lakers’ home stadium, the Staples Center. Now, the Lakers play at the Crypto.com Arena. Also last year, Crypto.com became a sponsor for Italy’s most prestigious soccer cup tournament final, the Coppa Italia.
FTX has been busy too.
In April, FTX landed a mammoth 19-year deal with the NBA’s Miami Heat that saw the exchange become the Heat’s “official and exclusive” crypto partner. The American Airlines Arena—what the Heat’s home stadium used to be called for over 20 years—also became FTX Arena.
FTX’s partnership with the Miami Heat is undoubtedly Sam Bankman-Fried’s marquee sports deal, but the FTX CEO has been busy landing an array of other high profile deals. FTX US recently landed agreements with the Golden State Warriors, the Washington Wizards, and the NHL’s Washington Capitals.
Umpires in Major League Baseball even sport the SBF-led exchange’s logo on their uniforms. And Bankman-Fried believes it’s working: “Everyone we talk to who knows us a little bit, or a lot, or barely, or intimately, this is top of mind for them,” he said on the first episode of Decrypt’s gm podcast.
“Clearly this has penetrated more than everything else we’ve done combined, in terms of people’s perception of us. Not in terms of installs per dollar spent, though.”
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