The Seattle Storm’s jersey retirement on Sunday for WNBA legend Sue Bird is being sponsored by Coinbase as the cryptocurrency exchange is the target of a lawsuit filed Tuesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Fans who attend Sue Bird Jersey Retirement Day presented by Coinbase during the Storm’s June 11 game against the Washington Mystics can create a Coinbase account to claim a limited-edition Sue Bird digital collectible. The non-fungible token offers entry into a sweepstakes to win autographed items, VIP tickets, and a meet and greet with Bird.
Coinbase, which went public in April 2021 and has a market cap value of $12 billion, is now being sued by the SEC as part of the federal government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency. The SEC claims that Coinbase, which handled $830 billion worth of trades last year, broke the law by offering digital assets as unregistered securities. The SEC is also suing crypto firm Binance.
Cryptocurrency sponsorships in sports have slowed down following the collapse of FTX. However, Coinbase remains the exclusive cryptocurrency partner of the NBA and WNBA through its multi-year deal signed in October 2021 as the NBA’s first crypto sponsor. Coinbase, whose investors include Kevin Durant, had a memorable ad during the 2022 Super Bowl.
The crypto market’s collapse since booming in 2020 and 2021 is still being felt in the sports world—the NFLPA’s marketing firm OneTeam Partners is looking for $41.8 million in unpaid funds connected to the union’s NFT partnerships. Reginald Fowler, a former Minnesota Vikings owner and Alliance of American Football investor was recently sentenced to over six years in jail for his role in a cryptocurrency and money laundering scam.