Tuesday October 3, 2023

Crypto Companies Upend List of NBA’s Top Sponsors

  • Crypto companies were the second biggest sponsor category for the NBA in the 2021-22 season.
  • They were 43rd the year before.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The NBA’s top sponsors in the 2021-22 season came from industries familiar to longtime sports fans, with one exception: crypto.

Cryptocurrency companies rocketed to the NBA’s second-largest category with $100 million to $150 million in sponsorships — after placing 43rd the previous season — according to an analysis by consulting firm IEG. 

Only technology companies, which spent more than $170 million on NBA sponsorships, topped the crypto industry.

  • The NBA hit a record $1.6 billion in sponsorship revenue in 2021-22, up 13% year-over-year. 
  • The surge in crypto deals has come almost entirely from five companies: Crypto.com, Webull, Coinbase, FTX, and Socios cover 92% of the industry’s NBA spending.

Arena deals made the biggest splash, with FTX securing rights to the Miami Heat’s arena last year in a 19-year, $135 million deal, and Crypto.com replacing the Staples Center by inking rights to the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, and Kings in a 20-year, $700 million agreement in November.

The NBA ranked third in total sponsorship dollars among U.S. sports leagues in 2021, trailing the NFL ($1.8B) and MLB ($1.7B). 

Familiar Faces

Other than crypto companies, there was little movement among the NBA’s other top sponsor categories. Banks, telecom companies, and sports apparel and footwear placed third through fifth, with $100 million to $150 million in sponsorships apiece.

Beer, insurance, automotive, retail, and lottery, betting, and gaming companies rounded out the top 10, with each spending $70 million to $100 million.

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