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Report: LA Angels and Washington Wizards miss out on sponsorships due to crypto crash

Market downturn sees firms look to cut costs after heavy sponsorship spending in 2021.

21 June 2022 Ed Dixon

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  • FTX was reportedly in talks to become Angels’ jersey patch partner
  • Crypto brands spent more than US$130m for the 2021/22 NBA season, according to IEG
  • Bitcoin hit lowest value since 2020 this month

The downturn in cryptocurrency has seen Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Los Angeles Angels and the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Washington Wizards lose out on major sponsorship deals, according to the New York Post.

Crypto exchange FTX reportedly pulled out of talks to become the Angels’ jersey patch sponsor, while the Wizards saw a deal with an unnamed crypto company fall through. The New York Post said both partnerships were ditched as the crypto market crumbled.

It is in stark contrast to 2021 when brands in the space shelled out billions of dollars for sports sponsorships. FTX, for example, is paying US$135 million for naming rights to the home of the Miami Heat as part of a deal struck in March 2021. Crypto.com also agreed a 20-year deal last November, purportedly worth US$700 million, to rename the home of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The NBA alone saw cryptocurrency brands spend more than US$130 million for the 2021/22 season, up from only US$2 million in the previous campaign, according to sponsorship consultancy IEG.

However, the New York Post is expecting a spending slump from crypto brands, which had been aggressive in the sports sponsorship in an effort to attract fans.

The Coinbase exchange platform, which has a deal with the NBA and spent an estimated US$14 million for a one-minute Super Bowl advertisement, laid off 1,100 employers last week – equating to about 18 per cent of its workforce. Crypto.com has also let go 260 employees this month, which is roughly five per cent of it staff.

In January, fan engagement platform Iqoniq went into liquidation, leaving multiple sporting organisations, including Premier League club Crystal Palace, Spanish soccer’s LaLiga and the McLaren Formula One team, potentially out of pocket.

Earlier this month, Bitcoin dipped below US$21,000, marking its lowest level since 2020.

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