UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization and Crypto.com, announced the creation of new Fight Night bonuses for UFC athletes that will be paid in bitcoin (BTC).
The new Fan Bonus of the Night will feature three bitcoin bonuses that will be awarded to the top three fighters on each UFC Pay-Per-View event, as decided by fans voting from all over the world, according to Thursday’s announcement.
However, this doesn’t mean that the sports league will phase out cash bonuses. Instead, it looks like the premier mixed martial arts organization is making more strategic moves in its fairly new partnership with Crypto.com.
With over 625 million fans, UFC signed a historic 10-year deal back in July 2021, valued at $175 million with Crypto.com, whereby the fastest growing crypto platform announced an exclusive NFT line in November of that same year.
“Crypto.com has been an official UFC partner for less than a year, and I’m telling you they are already one of the best partners we’ve ever had,” said UFC President Dana White. “They’re constantly coming up with new ideas about how we can work together to connect with the fans. This new Fan Bonus of the Night is an awesome way to get fans more engaged in our events while rewarding the fighters for bad-ass performances.”
Steven Kalifowitz, CMO of Crypto.com, also commented on the recent announcement, stating ,”[c]entral to our partnership with UFC is creating the most unique and compelling ways for fans to connect with the sport and their favorite athletes.”
Crypto sponsorships gain strong footing in sports
Over the past two years, sports sponsorships have certainly taken center stage in the fintech and cryptocurrency arenas.
FIFA World Cup 2022
Specifically, Crypto.com, which serves over 10 million customers, also secured an exclusive crypto sponsor title for the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Back in December 2021, Crypto.com secured an exclusive 20-year naming rights deal with Los Angeles’ Staples Arena, valued at $700 million, whereby Staples Arena would be renamed to what is now known as Crypto.com Arena. The name change went into effect on Christmas day, as the Lakers played their home game for the first time under the new name change.
It is predicted that sports sponsorships through cryptocurrency will reach $5 billion by 2026, according to Nielsen. According to the firm’s research, the data indicates a 778% growth over the next four years compared to 2021.
But, what is attracting crypto companies towards sports sponsorships?
Back when crypto platform Voyager Digital had struck a multi-year deal with National Women’s Soccer League, the company’s CEO had an explanation for that.
“There is a lot of crossover between an interest in crypto and sports fans,” said Voyager CEO Steve Ehrlich. “I think that’s why more and more companies are jumping into this arena and doing some of these bigger deals.”
Voyager has also secured sponsorships with Mark Cuban-owned Dallas Mavericks, Tampa Bay Buccaneer tight-end Rob Gronkowski, and NASCAR driver Landon Cassil. We are now seeing a variety of crypto deals extending to other arenas, including cricket world cups, NFL Super Bowls, the NBA, and more.
On Thursday, ESPN also dropped its first NFT collection, featuring former Patriots player, Tom Brady, who currently plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The NFT comes in the form of a digital magazine, based on Brady’s “Man in the Arena” series on ESPN+.
Watchdogs on Alert
With the rise in crypto marketing budget, global regulators have also been tightening their grip to oversee their promotions across the globe.
India is now subjected to the country’s newest advertising guidelines, where top crypto firms abstained from advertising in this year’s Twenty20 Cricket Indian Premier League (IPL). Similarly, the UK by and through its Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has also begun issuing out enforcement notices over crypto ads. The watchdog has also brought down several promotions and is keeping a close eye on how crypto is advertised in the country.
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