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In 2021, FTX Brought Crypto and Sports Together

Last Updated: December 28, 2021
From signing ambassadors like Tom Brady and Stephen Curry to forging a major deal with MLB, there’s barely a corner of sports that the cryptocurrency exchange didn’t touch this year.

Over the course of this year of ours that’s coming to a close, cryptocurrency exchange FTX has gone from relative obscurity to a leader in the crypto boom. FTX bested the competition, completing a $1 billion raise in 2021, which has set the foundation for its rampant growth.

As conversations around cryptocurrency have become increasingly mainstream, reaching a crescendo in the second half of the year, FTX positioned itself as a major player and thought leader.

And its expansion has proven immensely profitable for FTX’s CEO and Founder, Sam Bankman-Fried. The 29-year-old was the youngest person named to this year’s Forbes 400 list with a net worth of $22.5 billion.

FTX is a Swiss Army knife in the crypto space, boasting functionalities from a cryptocurrency wallet to its own NFT platform. In 2021, FTX invested millions to help itself become a household name, and so far, its efforts have been rewarded handsomely.

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FTX Moments & Milestones in 2021

Market research shows a substantial overlap between sports fans and the crypto-curious.

The centralized cryptocurrency exchange has extended in just about every direction in sports this year, and it would appear that its bets are paying off. In doing so, FTX has set itself apart from other crypto providers in its diversified — and all-encompassing — approach.

How did this company get here? By doing a little bit of everything in 2021. This year alone, FTX:

  • Inked a deal as MLB’s first-ever crypto partner and signed a patch deal with MLB umps
  • Secured arena naming rights for the Miami Heat
  • Paid $210 million for naming rights to the esports organization formerly known as TSM
  • Amassed a roster of athlete ambassadors and investors that includes Stephen Curry, Shohei Ohtani, and Tom Brady
  • Minted fan tokens for Italy’s Inter Milan and Turkey’s Galatasary soccer clubs
  • Became the official cryptocurrency platform and NFT marketplace of the Golden State Warriors
  • Linked up with  Monumental Sports, owners of the Washington Wizards, Capitals, and Mystics, positioning them to develop and drop fan tokens
  • Partnered with the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team and BYU football team
  • Entered a 10-year deal with Cal’s athletic department
  • Gave away free bitcoin to Miami Heat fans and Sunday Night Football viewers

And this is only a starter list of the moves that FTX made in 2021.

In addition, FTX’sBankman-Fried was among the big names in crypto who testified in Washington in November, providing Congress with a tutorial about the burgeoning space.

The impact of a move like this is not to be underestimated — after all, it’s certainly helpful if the elected officials tasked with regulating the industry in the US have the best possible understanding of it.

What’s Next for FTX

Will it be difficult for FTX to top its performance in 2021? It’s perhaps a question worth asking. But if you believe in momentum, you’d also be inclined to believe that the company has even bigger plans in store as the adoption and normalization of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology expands.

In recent weeks, FTX reportedly tried buying sports betting app PlayUp for $450 million, but the deal was allegedly torpedoed by PlayUp’s U.S. CEO Laila Mintas, who was upset about her contract situation. Although the deal fell through, the report signals that FTX may have its sights set on sports betting as its next frontier.

Additionally, the crypto exchange partnered with ambassador Steph Curry following his historic three-point record. Together, they launched an NFT line to commemorate the event. The 2974 Collection reportedly sold out in five minutes at $333 each, raising $2.1 million for Curry’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation.

And in February, keep your eyes peeled for FTX’s Super Bowl debut. The company has reportedly purchased time during the year’s biggest night in commercials. Bankman-Fried confirmed the purchase, saying: “There is no bigger, more mainstream event to share a message [about crypto] than the Super Bowl.” Although details are scarce about the specifics of the commercial, it is estimated to have set FTX back $6.5 million for a 30-second spot.

With a company like FTX, it is difficult to predict what might be next, as the many innovators across crypto world are constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. From sports betting to custom NFTs to adventures in the metaverse, count on FTX to be one of the key players making a splash and redefining the way that we think about cryptocurrency in 2022 and beyond.

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