Sports is one of those rare domains of human activities that seem to be more or less completely insulated from the developments on the technological scene. These sporting activities are among the most ancient types of combined leisure time spending that human civilization ever began doing. Today, like all of those thousands of years ago, sports still present a big level of appeal for practically any demographic, to some extent.
Changes in those sports, especially the most popular ones, are slow and cumbersome. While humanity is more than willing to infuse tech in so many fields in the last century or so, sports remain somewhat separate from that phenomenon. However, crypto might be one of those rare cutting-edge techs that are actually able to change that balance of power and pull sports more towards technology. From sports advertisement to team benefits and an easier connection to younger fans, sports have a lot of possible advantages that come from a merger of some aspects of their operations with cryptocurrencies and the powerful blockchain network that keep them going.
Over the past couple of years, the cryptocurrency industry – in some shape or form – became the biggest sponsorship category in the combined field of sports. That did not happen for no reason. Previously, the industry was a regular appearance in the domain of esports, mainly because of its natural connection to tech aficionados. Many of them are either in esports or are actually following the same competitions and athletes.
That is why even sports betting platforms from the esports realm became accustomed to both crypto sponsorships and crypto functionality. The second part means that people could wager using cryptocurrencies and do many more things in that field. But now, even traditional sports are quality closing that gap, and crypto is a regular sight in athletic competitions and other organized sports leagues across the whole globe. From NFL to smaller sports in other nations, having sponsors from the crypto development or crypto gambling business is a very lucrative deal for any sports organization.
There is a two-way process that takes place whenever a sports team takes on some kind of sponsorship deal from a crypto company. First of all, these companies are presently willing to invest in franchises, leaguers, individual competitions, and even athletes. They are doing it across the world, choosing anyone who seems promising no matter where they train or compete. In turn, the same entities get access to fresh cash for their ventures, but also access to a younger and likely new audience.
That is mainly consisting of Gen Z and Millenials, who are very much interested in crypto and not so interested in sports, especially compared to Gen X or Baby Boomers. That is why these younger individuals are a critical demographic for the entire sports industry, but also one that was so far very elusive. Yet, the crypto scene has had the same generations in their communities for over a decade. That is why these crypto and sports hookups are a win-win for both entities.
On a global level, all of the sports sponsorship deals are a part of an interconnected industry worth annually around 40 billion USD. An increasing part of that figure comes from crypto businesses. Just as important is where these brand sponsorship deals crop up. Just a few years ago, even companies with a broad appeal like Coinbase focused their immense promotional efforts on niche events or similar occasions that directly target an existing crypto audience.
But, that is quickly changing. For example, the last couple of Super Bowls had crypto ads. This is the biggest sporting event on the US calendar and a second of those commercial airspace costs a huge amount of money. But, all big brands in the country have to take it into consideration and the crypto industry is no longer an exception. Other competitions from the US major leagues are also a good example and the partnership levels between them are only getting bigger and longer-lasting.
The overall crypto industry is not just looking for quick branding deals. Instead, it was to provide a human face to a business that seems overly technological and intimidating in its scope. Too often, potential new users of crypto services like digital wallets will take a different route only because they believe that the present platform they might be exploring is too difficult for them to comprehend.
That type of sentiment is nearly additive in some quarters and thus it develops into a process where everyone from a particular circle of friends is ignoring a particular thing, like bitcoin and crypto in general. With the exposure that, for example, athletes bring to the table, these collective ignoring campaigns are less permanent, and sooner or later, some from the same group of fiends will decide to give some platform a look. They will then stick to trying to figure it out, mainly because the branding message they got was from a source they trust, like a sports team they have been following all of their lives.
Mark Cuban Example
One of the most tangible examples of the merger of the two industries is Mark Cuban. This billionaire investor and entrepreneur has been a crypto enthusiast for years. He is also an owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team and is no stranger to professional sports. Besides, Cuban also enjoys approaching challenges from an off-beat perspective and figuring out how to improve things.
Recently, he said that social media like Facebook lost a lot of their market cap in the crypto advertising domains, but also as a business overall. But, as he also pointed out, the recent drop in the same businesses and their value did not compel anyone to question their future potential. That is why he thinks that the present setup is a great chance for crypto to muscle further into sports, using social media and tech industry issues both as an example of inherent value and a possibility for bigger ROI.