Which Crypto Companies Have Qualified for the World Cup?

by David Zhang
 
Updated:

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Date: November 20 to December 18

Five host cities in Qatar

32 teams, 64 matches

In less than 50 days, the world’s most-watched international sporting event will take place in Qatar to welcome over 1 million onsite spectators and over 5 billion global audiences. Despite the market downturn, cryptocurrency and Web3 companies can’t turn a blind eye to this unrivaled branding opportunity. Many have already secured relevant commercial rights on their sports marketing spending spree earlier. 

Since brand protection is crucial for FIFA to stage the tournament, stringent regulations are in place to prevent and monitor rights infringement activities. Therefore, brands typically seek the following strategies to associate themselves with the FIFA World Cup. 

  • Official FIFA World Cup partners
    • Brand assets: FIFA World Cup’s official brand assets
    • Commercial Rights: advertising, ticketing, hospitality, and other promotional rights associated with FIFA
  • National football team partners
    • Brand assets: national football team/federation brand assets 
    • Commercial Rights: promotional rights in association with the national football team 
  • Partnerships with individual players
    • Brand assets: personal brand assets and produced promotional content
    • Commercial rights: agreed publicity and image rights to promote your brand

Without further ado, Let’s look at which cryptocurrency and Web3 companies are ready to elevate their brands during the World Cup.

FIFA WORLD CUP OFFICIAL PARTNER

Crypto.com

From landmark naming rights deals to esports sponsorship, Crypto.com has been on a spending spree on sports marketing since last year. The FIFA sponsorship deal was announced in March this year, marking the first cryptocurrency sponsorship in FIFA’s 118-year history(well, cryptos are just so new). 

FIFA’s commercial landscape

As an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup this year, Crypto.com got its ticket to sit in the same club with global brands like Budweiser, Mcdonald’s, Hisense, VIVO, etc. For tier-2 sponsors like Crypto.com, they will be able to access the following official assets to activate their sponsorship rights:

  • Official marks
  • Designation(e.g., worldwide partner, official partner, etc.)
  • Brand exposure on the LED boards in every match of the tournament
  • Official images and footage
  • Tickets 
  • Hospitality 
  • Premiums
  • Digital media inventories and more

On the activation front, Crypto.com has launched a global promotion campaign with its official hospitality packages as giveaways to lucky customers.

Cypto.com has been downsizing its workforce and brand partnerships against the backdrop of a bear market. According to AdAge, the Singapore-based cryptocurrency is canceling part of the hospitality packages planned for the World Cup.

I believe there is much more to expect from Crypto.com as it debuts as the first crypto sponsor at the World Cup in November. Not sure how they plan to activate during the tournament, but I’m convinced that Crypto.com will be the most-viewed brand during the World Cup simply by being part of the viral highlight moments of the tournament. 

Crypto.com brand will be visible at every match at the tournament.

Algorand

Algorand(ALGO) is a layer-1 blockchain protocol along with Ethereum, Solana, Cardano, Polkadot, etc. Known for its transaction speed, security, sustainability, and scalability, Algorand became the official blockchain platform of FIFA in May, following the announcement of Crypto.com’s Qatar World Cup sponsorship deal.

Algorand’s partnership does not fit into FIFA’s commercial affiliates system but focuses on providing technical solutions for FIFA’s NFT and other blockchain projects like the recently launched FIFA+Collect. In this case, Algorand might be unable to freely associate its brand with the official FIFA World Cup assets and content from the upcoming tournament.

Regarding the digital collectable platform, FIFA and Algorand did everything on point in my point of view. With FIFA’s vast multimedia library and its well-developed commercial ecosystem, this platform has the potential to reshape how people consume and celebrate the sport of football.

NATIONAL TEAM PARTNER

Binance

As the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance won’t miss the chance to score at the World Cup. Sitting on the arguably most significant war chest, Binance secured two major partnership deals with Argentina’s powerhouse national football team and the most followed football legend Cristiano Ronaldo.

The five-year deal with Argentine Football Association (AFA)  marks the first time Binance sponsored a national team. In addition to exclusive marketing rights and sponsorship recognitions, Binance will develop and release a fan token for AFA.

Binance has a football-focused sports marketing portfolio, targeting the South American and African markets.

Binance sponsors the following sports properties:

  • Brasileirão(Brazilian professional football league)
  • African Cup
  • Paulistão Sicredi
  • Santos Futebol Clube(Fan Token)
  • S.S Lazio(Fan Token)
  • FC Porto(Fan Token)
  • Alpine Formula One team(Fan Token)

For more sponsorship deals in the crypto category, please refer to my crypto sponsorship tracker here:

Socios

Socios is the dominant player in the Fan Token market.

Socios is a Fan Token platform created by the company Chiliz($CHZ) with the mission to reimagine how sports and entertainment IP owners can engage with their fans. Socios has secured deals with top-notch global sports properties and listed over 50 Fan Tokens on cryptocurrency exchanges.

The holders of Fan Tokens can often be entitled to perks such as exclusive content and prizes, and they can vote on the club’s decision.

Among the various Fan Tokens, Argentina Football Association($ARG) and Portugal National Team($POR) are the two essential marketing vehicles for Socios at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. By partnering with two favorites at the tournament and leveraging the highly-engaged Fan Tokens communities, Socios could easily stand out in the brand war this winter, not to mention their brand ambassador deal with Lionel Messi.

The Argentinian Football Association (AFA) is now the most active national football association in the crypto world, where they’ve been engaging with multiple major cryptocurrency exchanges and blockchain platforms. Sometimes AFA’s crypto deals can look confusing.

Mara

The Ghana Football Association recently announced Mara – a Pan-African digital finance ecosystem as an official sponsor of the Black Stars of Ghana to drive football sustainability ahead of the FIFA World Cup. This sponsorship deal allows Mara to promote their platforms in association with Ghana’s national football team and potentially their performance at the upcoming World Cup.

BC.GAME

The community-based crypto casino BC.GAME inked a global partnership deal with Argentine Football Association this month. BC.GAME will support the Argentine national team in the crypto casino category during the following months and the Qatar World Cup games.

PARTNERSHIP WITH PLAYERS

Bitget

Latest update:

Bitget announced their partnership with Lionel Messi as the one-month countdown to the World Cup begins. The Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange is no novice to sports marketing. Bitget’s sports partnership portfolio includes some major European football clubs and most-followed esports properties.

Binance

In June, The largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced a multi-year NFT partnership with the five-time Ballon D’or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. Binance aims to drop the first NFT collection drop later this year and will feature designs created in collaboration with Ronaldo.

“We are thrilled to provide his fans with exclusive engagement opportunities to connect with Ronaldo and own a piece of iconic sports history”

CZ, Binance Founder and CEO

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest players the sport has ever seen and the world’s most-followed person across social media platforms(480 million followers on Instagram alone). With Ronaldo’s unrivaled global reach, the upcoming World Cup in Qatar presents a golden opportunity for Binance to drive crypto and Web3 adoptions among sports fans worldwide.

Socios

Lionel Messi signed a brand ambassador deal reportedly worth more than $20 million with the Fan Token company Socios in 2022. Socios had been partnering with PSG and the Argentina National Football Team that Messi plays for before this deal.

Messi has become the face of the brand for Socios across various platforms and was featured in their global TV commercial campaigns.

Messi joins force with Socios

Sorare

The World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe joined Sorare as an investor and exclusive player ambassador. Sorare, the Ethereum-based NFT fantasy sports company, is the first mover in the sports-NFT-gaming-collectables space.

Sorare has over 200 licensed clubs in the game and allows users to play in different leagues with their own teams and players, which are limited-edition digital NFT cards. However, Sorare hasn’t signed any licensing or partnership deals with FIFA or national football teams, which prevents them from associating the Sorare brand with any of the FIFA World Cup properties…

Given the popularity of fantasy games and with Mbappé onboard, there are reasons for Sorare to expect an uptick in sales and users.

Phemex

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne teamed up with the Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange Phemx as the official brand ambassador in August 2022. The Belgian player is widely regarded as one of the world’s best attacking midfielders and is determined to lead the Red Devils to bring home their first-ever World Cup title.

NFTSTAR

NFTSTAR is a sports NFT platform with exclusive NFT licensing rights for the biggest names in sports. We are talking about Neymar Jr., Son Heung-min, and the retired Portuguese legend Luis Figo.

So far, they have launched Sonny’s and Figo’s NFT collections on Opensea, but the market did not react as expected amid this crypto winter.

IS YOUR WEB3 BRAND READY FOR THE WORLD CUP?

This Q4 brings new opportunities and also challenges for brands. FIFA’s first-ever winter World Cup(northern hemisphere) will take place from November 20 to December 18, when brands usually plan their festive campaigns. This busy Q4 will require additional care and creativity from our fellow marketers.

On the other hand, staying active and relevant during the upcoming World Cup could take your web3 brand to the next level. According to FIFA, over 3.5 billion people watched the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, and the number will hit 5 billion this year as estimated, of which most are twice likely to buy and own crypto and digital assets, as shown in a recent survey among sports fans.

If you are interested in riding the momentum of the World Cup to elevate your brand, I am here to help. Happy to discuss how we can work together to navigate your road to success in Qatar.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at dz@davidzhang.work.

Article by
David Zhang

Hi, I’m David. I am a sports marketer and a believer in web3 and blockchain technology. Click here to learn more about me.