Hong Kong-based trading platform Crypto.com will be the Philadelphia 76ers’ jersey patch sponsor starting this year, as blockchain companies continue to seek sports partners while uniform ads increasingly attract global interest.
The multi-year deal, expected to be one of the five largest patch deals in the NBA at over $10 million annually, goes beyond the jersey as well. Philadelphia will sell its first NFTs through Crypto.com’s platform this year, with plans to make tickets available via cryptocurrencies as well.
“We love the idea of having a partner that was also going to be integrated into our business,” 76ers president of business operations Chris Heck said in an interview. “We wanted to launch our NFT program the right way. … Having that partnership with Crypto.com, everything just fell into place.”
StubHub was Philly’s previous patch sponsor, dating back to when the team became the NBA’s first to announce such a deal in 2016.
“We looked at the entire NBA, every team that had an opportunity,” Crypto.com CMO Steven Kalifowitz said. “The 76ers just stood out.”
The 76ers join soccer power Paris Saint-Germain and the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens as team partners of Crypto.com, which also has a footprint with UFC, F1 and Serie A. Going forward, Kalifowitz said Crypto.com is hoping to bring those brands and their stars together as part of future efforts.
“We want to make sure that anything and everything that we do together supports our mission as a company, which is to accelerate the world’s transition to cryptocurrency,” Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek said.
Crypto.com offers a way to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrencies, as well as a prepaid card that uses digital currency and an NFT marketplace.
Earlier this week, the Lakers announced one of the biggest patch sponsor deals yet, a five-year, $100 million agreement with Bibigo, a South Korean food brand. This summer, the Portland Trail Blazers signed a patch deal with cryptocurrency platform StormX. The NBA is now looking to further expand its on-court virtual signage, while the NHL plans to add jersey patch sponsors in 2022.
Excel Sports Management’s Properties team oversaw the 76ers’ search for a new patch partner, while Mayflower Entertainment represented Crypto.com.