Crypto Corner: The Sports Slice

By Taylor Scott

Last week’s Slice left sports fans with less to chew on than usual. Not to worry, fans: sports engagement with crypto was back in full swing this past week.

In U.S. leagues, the NBA, NHL, and NFL all had some sort of engagement this past week – be it athletes, teams, or leagues. Let’s dive in.

The Sports Slice

Crypto.com Secures Staples Center Naming Rights In One Of The Biggest Sports Sponsorship Deals yet

If you’re paying attention to crypto, it’s hard to imagine missing this news over the past week. Crypto.com Arena is now a real thing in downtown Los Angeles. New branding is expected to take place by Christmas Day.

The 20-year, $700M deal cements Crypto.com as the biggest spender in U.S. sports naming rights history. The platform’s native token, $CRO, responded well with a nice bump in price following the announcement. Crypto.com has been one of the most aggressive sports sponsorship spenders in the space lately.

StormX Builds On Pacific Northwest Roots, Partners With CJ McCollum

StormX found regional ties with the Portland Trail Blazers earlier this year, becoming the first NBA jersey patch partner (the Sixers have since partnered with Crypto.com as well).

Now, StormX is building on those pacific northwest roots in the U.S., signing Blazers guard CJ McCollum as a brand ambassador. According to the good folks over at SportTechie, McCollum will appear in StormX marketing materials and on-site events at the Blazers home venue, the Moda Center.

Sports Aside: Malcolm Jenkins To Release Three NFTs

NFL safety Malcolm Jenkins has made his presence known in the league. Now he’s looking to make his impact in NFTs, too. The three-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champ sat down with the folks over at Bloomberg this week, sharing his intent to release three NFTs.

One of the three will celebrate Jenkins’ six years in Philadelphia. Jenkins stated that the NFTs will be “a vehicle to tell my own story and cement my legacy and maintain control of my own image.”

As the old crypto adage goes, it’s safe to say that he’s GMI.

The NFL Calls On Polygon To Explore NFT Ticket Collectibles

The NFL has been relatively quiet with crypto engagement after telling teams in recent months that they should hold off on crypto deals. Last week, we reported on Socios.com latest deal with the NFL’s New England Patriots – a deal that we believed could signal that the league was opening up to crypto deals.

This week, the league released 125 different NFT collectibles that include each of the league’s 32 teams. The move is expected to be the first batch of more to come, and are running on Polygon. The move comes less than 60 days after the NFL announced their formalized partnership with Dapper Labs, who operate the Flow blockchain, to release the league’s athlete NFTs. To date, the market is essentially expecting a Top Shot-esque product, which most certainly will be built on Flow. However, the NFL is showing that it’s not going to stop with Dapper when it comes to crypto.

Related Reading | NFTs In A Nutshell: A Weekly Review

While many altcoins have had bumpy rides lately, AVAX has been surging like few others. AVAX is powering Orange Comet, the New York Islanders most recent partner. | Source: AVAX-USD on TradingView.com

FC Barcelona Pumps The Brakes

It had just been a couple weeks that had gone by since FC Barcelona announced their partnership with NFT platform Ownix. Earlier this week, the club announced that the deal was cancelled. The termination came after one alleged Ownix affiliate, Moshe Hogeg, was arrested on charges tied to cryptocurrency fraud.

It is unclear the next steps for FC Barcelona in integrating club NFTs.

It’s “Shotime”

LA Angels star Shohei Ohtani will be paid in crypto, and take on an equity stake in FTX after a new announcement this past week that cements Ohtani as the exchange’s latest brand ambassador.

Ohtani joins the ranks of Steph Curry and Tom Brady as brand ambassadors – not bad company by any means.

NFT Marketplace Partnerships In Sports Continue With The NHL’s Islanders & Orange Comet

While some doors close, others seem to open. We haven’t had too much coverage on the ice these past few weeks on the Sports Slice. The NHL’s New York Islanders gave us reason to change that recently, teaming up with Orange Comet.

Orange Comet is an Avalanche-powered NFT marketplace focused on arts, sports, and entertainment. The partners released their first NFT drop on November 20, celebrating the Islanders’ new venue, UBS Arena.

The @OrangeCometNFT Marketplace is bringing elevated NFT experiences to #Avalanche, partnering with some of the top brands in sports, music and entertainment.

The first drop is tomorrow with the @NYIslanders to celebrate the opening of @UBSArena 🏒 https://t.co/ZHlO5VkFSG

— Avalanche 🔺 (@avalancheavax) November 19, 2021

Manchester City Reconsidering?

Manchester City has onboarded a regional crypto partner, 3Key, as one of the club’s first-ever decentralized finance partners. However, suspicions around the firm’s lack of online presence has led to the club suspending the partnership while they look into the crypto company’s background further. A recent report from The Guardian claims that key executives for the firm turn up with no digital footprint.

Related Reading | Will Xbox Keep Out NFT Projects? Phil Spencer Says Some Seem “Exploitive”

Featured image from Pexels, Charts from TradingView.com