The rise of crypto sponsorship in sport
The question remains – is the role that crypto is playing in sport good for the sport and crypto industry itself? To the industry, it seems like it’s a legitimising force, but for many fans, it might be all a bit much.
From AFL to Formula 1 to the Super Bowl, in 2022 you would be hard-pressed to watch any sport without seeing some form of Crypto advertising. In Australia, the two major football codes, the NRL and AFL, have both recently signed multi million dollar sponsorship deals. In early 2022 the AFL signed a five year deal with Singapore based exchange Crypto.com and soon after the NRL announced a three year deal with Brisbane based exchange Swyftx. These moves by sporting codes signify a maturity of the crypto industry more broadly and additionally demonstrate that crypto has reached a point of adoption for exchanges and brokers to justify advertising to a mainstream audience.
However, these sponsorship deals have not been without controversy. Some critics have called crypto-sporting partnerships immoral, comparing crypto firms to gambling companies. Furthermore, unlike marketing for gambling businesses, crypto advertising is largely unregulated. Longtime anti-gambling advocate Reverend Tim Costello is quoted as describing these unions between sport and crypto as, “a bad move.” Additionally, he expressed worry about the particular demographic crypto businesses were seeking to target. As he argues, “young men are very susceptible and this (crypto) is immediately available to them which is very dangerous.”
With the uptake of crypto projected to grow in 2022 these sponsorships are likely the tip of the iceberg, with partnerships outside even the realm of sport tipped to emerge throughout the year.