- Cryptocurrency firms spent less than US$2 million in 2020/21
- Tech, crypto, banking, telecom and sportswear categories named top spenders
- Most active brand categories in insurance, beer, retail, automotive, lottery and gaming
Cryptocurrency brands have helped the National Basketball Association (NBA) raise US$1.64 billion in annual sponsorship fees for the 2021/22 season, a 12.5% year-over-year increase other (YoY), according to a study by sponsorship consultancy IEG.
Brands in the cryptocurrency sector alone spent over US$130 million for 2021/22, with IEG’s sponsorship intelligence database highlighting the massive increase from the previous season when the sector spent less than US$2 million.
Five brands – Crypto.com, Webull, Coinbase, FTX and Socios – are responsible for 92% of cryptocurrency industry spending in the NBA, including some of the league’s most high-profile inventory, such as naming and sponsorship of jersey patches. . A notable example includes Crypto.com grabbing the naming rights to the Los Angeles Lakers arena in a deal worth US$700 million over 20 years.
New arena naming rights deals have also been signed between the Miami Heat and FTX, the Phoenix Suns and Footprint, the Indiana Pacers and Gainbridge, and the Oklahoma City Thunder and Paycom.
The IEG study also shows there were nine New Jersey patch sponsors, including the Philadelphia 76ers’ deal with Crypto.com, which is said to be worth more than $10 million a year.
New NBA league-wide sponsors included Coinbase, Google, Caesars Sportsbook, LegalZoom.com, ServiceNow.com and Wilson.
The tech sector was the top spender in sponsorship, ahead of the cryptocurrency, banking, telecommunications and sportswear categories, each disbursing more than $100 million annually.
Top spenders with annual sponsorship fees of more than US$50 million include official NBA partners Nike, Microsoft, AB InBev, Pepsi and AT&T.
Insurance, beer, retail, lottery and gaming, and automotive are the league’s most active brand categories, with all five categories holding more than 70 active deals.
AB InBev, Pepsi, Socios, State Farm, Toyota and Verizon are the most active brands sponsoring the NBA and its teams. Each brand currently holds more than 20 sponsorship deals.
“The cryptocurrency category’s sponsorship sending frenzy is unlike anything we’ve seen before, accounting for one-third of all new NBA sponsorship deals,” said Peter Laatz, Global Managing Director of ‘IEG.
“In one year, the category has gone from 43rd to become the NBA’s second highest-spending sponsorship sector, just behind technology.
IEG conducted a similar study for the 2021/22 National Football League (NFL) season, revealing that total sponsorship rights revenue for the league and its teams increased 12% year-on-year to 1.8 billion dollars.