If you’re an NBA fan, you’ve probably been noticing more and more mentions of cryptocurrency creeping into the sport. No, it isn’t just in your head — the rise of crypto in major league basketball is a serious trend. It’s a result of several teams establishing partnerships of various types with major crypto companies.
Individual players are getting in on the action, too: Spencer Dinwiddie has gone all-in on the trend, from tokenizing his own contract to founding a new crypto platform app. But it’s the teams themselves that are leading the headlines. Here are some of the biggest ones gravitating toward crypto.
Los Angeles Lakers
If you’ve heard any of the stories about deals with crypto companies, you’ll have heard this one. The Staples Center, home to the LA Lakers, changed its name last year to the Crypto.com Arena as a result of a gigantic deal unprecedented in the sport. The naming rights were bought for $700 million.
The famous arena had been known as the Staples Center since its construction thanks to a $100 million deal with the office equipment chain back in the 90s, which was a huge deal at that point. But that figure has now been replaced by the current deal, to be paid over two decades by the Singapore-based exchange.
Slightly less well known to much of the public is that the Heat actually received the same treatment with their arena first. Beating the deal in LA to the punch by several months for a mere $135 million, the name will change from the American Airlines Arena to the FTX Arena.
Like Crypto.com, FTX is another exchange platform, based in the Caribbean. They’ve pushed heavily into sports, with Stephen Curry agreeing to be a brand ambassador. Miami is likewise promoting itself as a tech-forward city, with a majority of the commission being happy to approve the deal in order to put the money into local initiatives.
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks decided to partner with Socios just before Christmas. Socios is a platform revolving around fan tokens, enabling sports fans to buy up crypto coins associated with their favorite teams. In that sense, it might be the most relevant of the 2021 deals in the world of sport. This is because fan tokens are changing all major sports by giving fans more ownership over their teams. They get access to VIP rewards, exclusive promotions, and a global community of superfans. We should expect the Knicks to take advantage of this.
The deal itself was a multi-year contract with Madison Square Garden Sports Corp, which manages all the major sports teams in the city. So expect to keep seeing Socios in the promotional material not only for the Knicks but the hockey team, the Rangers, too.
Portland Trail Blazers
In the summer, the Rip City home team put a crypto company patch for StormX on their jerseys. The location of StormX over in Seattle makes it a more local deal than some of the others on this list.
Since then the Philadelphia 76ers have followed suit with Crypto.com advertisements. We can expect the trend to continue as long as the crypto phenomenon continues to cement itself.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to visit us here at Dribble Media again for any and all updates on the NBA.