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Crypto is one of the most exciting tech developments in modern times. Experts predict it will change the face of online payment processing forever and will revolutionise a huge range of different industries and sectors.
When we think of crypto, we often think of fintech, banking, and ecommerce and the most closely related industries. While these sectors have certainly benefited from crypto integration, there is a rather surprising industry that is becoming ever more interlinked with crypto and blockchain technology – sports. How are sports and crypto intertwining? Let’s find out.
What is Crypto?
Before we can discuss the connection between crypto and sport, first we need to examine what exactly crypto is.
Crypto, short for cryptocurrency, is a type of digital currency that is secured by cryptography. Once an obscure and highly technical concept, crypto is now a household term, with some of the most famous currencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dogecoin.
Crypto transactions are logged and stored on the blockchain, a type of digital public ledger. These transactions are fully transparent but immutable, meaning they are protected from tampering and unlikely to fall foul of scammers and cybercriminals.
The blockchain is decentralised, which means that users verify and validate transactions, rather than financial institutions and banks. This means that crypto transactions can be conducted and completed at near real-time speeds and that they are free from the costs and fees usually associated with traditional payment methods.
These improved security benefits and crypto’s accessibility and decentralised nature are why it is an increasingly popular online payment option.
Crypto has been adopted by a vast range of different businesses, including those working within industries such as fintech, banking, ecommerce, gambling, and, of course, sports.
The Sports Industry
The sports industry is enormous, with a current global value estimated at around $500 billion. This value is only expected to grow, with experts predicting it could exceed an astonishing total of $700 billion by 20206. The industry sees revenue from a host of sources, including things like live events, TV rights, and sports betting in South Africa.
We think of sports as a physical, land-based activity that doesn’t necessarily have much to do with technology. However, sports are a truly global phenomenon, and the industry must be willing and able to adopt new technologies if it wants to continue its incredible upward trajectory.
Despite being one of the hottest topics in tech today, it can be difficult to see how crypto can link with sports. However, the two are becoming increasingly intertwined, a collaboration that looks set to benefit companies and consumers alike. Find out more below.
Premier League Sponsorships
The English Premier League is one of the most popular and lucrative sports franchises on the planet. Games are broadcast to 800 million homes in 188 nations across the world, with Premier League clubs collectively boasting around one billion social media followers.
The financial potential of the Premier League is huge, so it will come as no surprise to learn that companies are desperate to get in on the action.
In recent years, we’ve seen an increasing number of crypto companies secure sponsorship deals with Premier League clubs. So much so, in fact, that almost all Premier League teams have at least one sponsorship agreement with crypto firms. These include Manchester City, who brokered a sponsorship deal with crypto exchange OKX last year, and Arsenal, who partnered with crypto firm CashBet.
What About Other Sports?
The link between crypto and sports doesn’t stop at football. Red Bull F1 struck a partnership deal with crypto exchange Bybit in 2021, while the Irish and Sri Lankan national cricket teams reached a sponsorship agreement with crypto investment app CoinDCX in 2021.
There’s been a lot of activity in the US as well. Major sports brands like the Los Angeles Lakers, NASCAR, and the National Women’s Soccer League have all partnered with crypto firms.
What Can Crypto Offer the Sports Industry?
As well as sponsorships, crypto can offer the sports industry a range of benefits. Player transfers can cost millions, so by conducting these transactions using crypto clubs and sports organisations can make major savings.
Crypto can also be used to improve fan communication and engagement. Crypto and blockchain technology can be used to create unique digital assets, such as virtual players, that fans can collect and trade to enhance their connection with their favourite teams.
Crypto is being adopted by a growing number of different industries and sectors across the world. The technology is already closely linked with sports, a relationship we can expect to grow in the future.
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