Nashville is the latest Major League football team to join crypto, with one twist: The club’s sponsorship deal with Valkyrie Investments is being paid entirely in bitcoin.
Nashville on Tuesday announced Valkyrie, a digital asset investment company, as its new founding partner. This is because sports franchises are increasingly using cryptocurrency-related sponsorships.
Players will wear the Valkyrie crest on the sleeves of their jerseys, and the first club at the new stadium in Nashville will carry the company name. The financial terms of the multi-year partnership were not disclosed, but this is the first deal in the MLS to be paid in cryptocurrency.
The sponsorship comes at a key moment for the club as they prepare to open their new stadium in May. Nashville’s first season in MLS came amid the pandemic in 2020, but the team has outperformed on-court expectations, making the playoffs in each of its first two seasons.
“I think as part of that, we want to be part of the conversation when people talk about new technologies and new initiatives,” Nashville CEO Ian Eyre said of the new sponsorship. “Our fan base is very much in line with the overall MLS demographic and because of that we want to make sure we are relevant to our fans. »
Probably the most notable example of the growing popularity of crypto in sports is Crypto.com’s purchase last November of the 20-year Lakers and Clippers arena naming rights for $700 million in Los Angeles.
In MLS, DC United last month entered into a three-year deal with XDC Network that will see the blockchain company’s name appear on the team’s jerseys for the next three years. Inter Miami has a sponsorship form with XBTO, Valkyrie’s cryptocurrency partner company.
For businesses, MLS referrals cover the demographic most familiar with digital assets.
“MLS has the youngest fans of American sports, and our fans are also the most likely to use or want to use cryptocurrency. You can see why Nashville SC turned to Valkyrie,” said Chris Schlosser, MLS senior vice president of media relations.
Trading can be risky in a still growing industry. Manchester City’s partnership with 3Key Technologies has been terminated due to concerns about the legitimacy of the company’s executives. Barcelona canceled a deal with Ownix after a businessman linked to the company was arrested for crypto-related fraud.
But for teams looking for new sponsors, especially after the pandemic has caused industry-wide losses, the interest from the growing crypto market could be a boon.
Nashville-based Valkyrie thinks her brand fits well with football and her home team.
“It’s very community oriented. You support coin projects and founders and they are small and niche and a lot of people care about each other and help each other succeed,” said Lea Wald, CEO of Valkyrie Investments. “And we felt that this is a very good synergy, which we also felt with the football community and football fans. So it’s in line with our philosophy.
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