In yet another sign of cryptocurrencies and crypto companies becoming mainstream, crypto exchange FTX has inked a sponsorship deal with Major League Baseball. This is just the latest major news from FTX—the company is fresh off the unveiling of its new FTX Arena in Miami.
The “new long-term, global partnership” means that FTX will be the professional baseball league's official cryptocurrency exchange. The FTX.US logo will be highlighted on umpires’ uniforms at the MLB All-Star Game on Jul. 13. The company has also formed an agreement with the MLB Player’s Association, giving FTX promotional access and the rights to players for advertising content creation.
The deal could push the adoption of cryptocurrencies in other sports markets
Details of the deal are expected to emerge soon. FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said in an announcement, “We look forward to announcing further details of our long-term partnership throughout the remainder of this year.”
MLB chief revenue officer Noah Garden added that the league’s fanbase has been quick to adopt new ballpark technology to better engage in the game, and acknowledged FTX has been a leader in the crypto industry. "FTX quickly cultivated itself into a worldwide leader in the ever-evolving cryptocurrency industry and continues to build on its already impressive reputation. Our fans have been early adopters in using new technologies to engage with our game. We cannot wait to start collaborating with Sam and the entire FTX team."
Earlier in 2021, Grayscale partnered with the NFL’s New York Giants. Giants chief commercial officer Pete Guelli said that the partnership with Grayscale would help the team navigate the cryptocurrency market, hinting that the team may explore using cryptocurrencies in the future.
Crypto companies and sports teams have been striking deals this year, and this could prompt more such partnerships. For example, the Dallas Mavericks, owned by billionaire investor Mark Cuban, have already begun accepting cryptocurrency for tickets and other products.
FTX’s MLB deal is just the latest for the company
The coveted MLB partnership is the latest in a string of activity from the crypto exchange company. In early Jun. 2021, FTX struck a deal with e-sports league TSM for $210 million. The agreement included renaming the company to “TSM FTX” and expanding operations to enter markets in South America and Asia.
Additionally, FTX acquired naming rights to the NBA’s Miami Heat arena. In a report summarizing the deal, FTX said, “If approved, the agreement would bring the NBA its first arena sponsor for the crypto industry, and inject FTX into the Miami sports vocabulary at a time when the city’s mayor is courting tech executives and embracing bitcoin.”
FTX's deals were undoubtedly negotiated well before crypto markets began struggling in May 2021. Whether the widespread adoption and mass exposure can boost the market will be closely watched by crypto investors and analysts alike.