The Golden State Warriors have signed a multiyear deal with cryptocurrency exchange FTX US that will see the Bay Area’s team go deeper into blockchain technology while also increasing its presence in markets around the world.
The partnership is the Warriors’ first under a league-wide international team marketing program (ITMP) launched in 2019 and recently expanded, allowing individual teams to offer companies global use of non-game content after the league previously controlled all such deals. As of June, the NBA is allowing teams to do three international deals apiece. To date, 18 teams have signed ITMP deals.
If the Warriors follow NBA trends, they could have their eyes on markets in Africa (home to the recently launched Basketball Africa League), the UAE (where the NBA will soon host preseason games), and across Asia.
FTX has already been active in the world of sports marketing, inking tie-ups with the Miami Heat, MLB, Tom Brady and others. The company is planning to run a Super Bowl ad this season as well. Notably, Warriors star Steph Curry is an FTX ambassador and equity holder.
FTX will become the Warriors’ official cryptocurrency platform and NFT marketplace, hosting releases of Golden State NFTs beginning early next year. “Having a partner like FTX that is already established in markets around the world, to work with them to market certainly their brand, but ours and specifically our NFTs is really, really attractive,” Warriors president and COO Brandon Schneider said in an interview.
The Warriors previously sold more than 300 NFTs this spring, including one for more than $800,000. Schneider said the team is actively discussing how it will evolve its NFT strategy in consultation with FTX. That includes working with the league to expand what individual teams have the ability to offer fans.
“As it stands right now, players can do NFTs, but they can’t use team marks and logos… and then teams can do NFTs, but we can’t do anything with the players,” Schneider said. “Clearly that’s not the most efficient system. I think you’re going to see that certainly evolve over time.”
FTX is getting access to more than the Warriors, with Golden State’s G League affiliate and its esport brands being integrated into the deal. “It’s becoming much more common,” Schneider said of multi-brand agreements. “We’re seeing a lot more companies wanting to be part of that multi-platform experience.”
The Warriors and FTX will be giving three Bay Area nonprofits one Bitcoin each as part of the deal. It’s unclear how the groups will use the cryptocurrency, which is down roughly 25% in value over the last month following massive gains earlier this year.