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Crypto.com is the latest FIFA World Cup sponsor. Why are crypto companies going all in on sports advertising?

March 23, 2022, 11:10 PM UTC

Crypto.com is adding soccer’s World Cup to its growing portfolio of sports sponsorships, in yet another example of cryptocurrency companies trying to raise their visibility through professional athletics. 

The latest soccer partnership, announced Tuesday, makes Crypto.com the World Cup’s exclusive cryptocurrency trading platform this year, with advertisements both inside and outside the tournament’s stadiums from November to December in Qatar.

During the most recent World Cup in 2018, FIFA said more than half the world’s population aged four or older, or 3.6 billion people, watched at least part of the tournament. A whopping 1.12 billion people tuned in for the tournament’s final match. 

The push by crypto companies into sports is aimed at getting their names in front of wider audiences. This year’s Super Bowl, which featured ads by five crypto exchanges, drew a U.S. TV audience of 101.1 million people, for example. 

While many Americans have heard of crypto, comparatively fewer have done anything with it. Only 16% of American adults have either traded, invested in, or transacted in crypto, according to a study by Pew Research Center in November. 

Sports advertising is a high priority for crypto companies because its heavily young male audience is the same one that is invested in crypto. According to Pew, 43% of men aged 18 to 29 said they had interacted with digital tokens. 

Even before its World Cup deal, Crypto.com had been a major sports sponsor. In November, the Singapore-based crypto exchange struck a deal to rename the home arena of the Los Angeles Lakers to Crypto.com Arena

In 2021, Crypto.com also partnered with teams and sports leagues including the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, Paris Saint-Germain soccer club, and Formula 1 racing. It topped off its marketing efforts earlier this year with a commercial featuring LeBron James that aired during the Super Bowl.

But Crypto.com is not the only crypto company pouring money into sports. Last year, rival crypto exchange FTX struck multi-million-dollar-deals to put its brand on both the stadiums of the NBA’s Miami Heat and the University of California, Berkeley’s football team. It also signed a deal with Major League Baseball to get patches with the FTX logo on umpire uniforms for a five-year period.

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