OKX, a cryptocurrency exchange, has announced a partnership with Manchester City, the reigning English Premier League (EPL) champions. OKX will sponsor the team’s training outfit for the 2022-23 season in a deal valued over $20 million. OKX’s logo will appear on Manchester City’s men’s and women’s training wear until mid-2023 as per the agreement. OKX was Manchester City’s official crypto partner prior to signing of the new deal.
Manchester City’s OKX deal and the link between crypto and sports
The training kit deal is not all. OKX has also announced that it has commissioned the Global Street Art Agency and well-known street artist “Akse P19” to create QR code-enabled artwork for four locations in Manchester. Fans can scan them for a chance to win OKX Hospitality Box season tickets. Football teams and crypto firms have forged stronger ties despite the recent fall in the cryptocurrency market.
Manchester City’s neighbours, and 20-time premier league champions, Manchester United, have an ongoing training kit deal with Tezos. The kit deal worth about $27 million a year came into effect in February 2022 and will run for a year initially. Across the waters in France, reigning French football league champions, PSG, have announced an NFT drop for their fans ahead of their tour of Japan later this month.
As the cryptocurrency market struggles, many crypto companies consider sports as crucial platforms for marketing their products. Leading cryptocurrency companies such as Crypto.com, FTX, Bybit, Tezos and Binance have signed multi-million dollar deals with sports franchises and global sports superstars. Notable names include Formula One, NBA, WNBA, McLaren Racing, Miami Heat, Lazio FC, and Sports Superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, among others. It remains to be seen whether these efforts will pay off in the long run.
Many football clubs have also ventured into the so-called fan tokens. These reward schemes give fans exclusive access to merchandise, tickets, events, memorabilia and other rare, exciting opportunities. Critics have labelled fan tokens as exploitative of fans and abuse of fanaticism. Furthermore, many sports franchises have not been forthright about the success or failure rates of the fan token revenue model.