Crypto Hoops: How Digital Currency Has Made its Way to the NBA

How Digital Currency Has Made its Way to the NBA image

📖 Published on: March 18th, 2024

✍️ Updated: March 19th, 2024

⏳ 7 mins read


It is no secret that cryptocurrency has already made a splash in the sports world, from jersey sponsorships, arena naming rights, and many other ways to make their presence felt in the games over the years. However, we have seen the NBA make some leaps in terms of crypto presence, and it has been at a staggering rate, with the future almost looking like the NBA is going to be full of crypto sponsorships in the long run.


How Crypto Has Splashed in the NBA?


In 2019, only a mere 11 crypto deals involving sports was inked back then, but in the span of two years, the Nielsen Sports Sponsorglobe reported at least 84 deals signed in the first three quarters of 2021. Crypto has found its way towards a new space, which was to make itself known in the sports world through the NBA, and there were plenty of massive avenues that have allowed crypto to thrive as a sponsor from time to time, which made it popular.


NBA and Crypto image


On top of that, the number of crypto companies associated with the NBA has spiked in the 2023-24 season. Digital currency has been quite a buzz in the NBA, and this just shows how big crypto has managed to make its way into the sports world. Today, crypto partnerships have become a dominant sponsorship in the league, just a mere numbers behind the technology industry.


Sponsorship revenue is one of the biggest source of income for teams and players in the NBA. The league sits at third when it comes to sponsorships among North American Leagues, just behind the NFL and the MLB on that end. Since then, the NBA has continued to be an interesting place for crypto to thrive over the years.


Biggest Crypto Deals in the NBA


The NBA has seen some big strides over the years with various signings involving crypto companies. This has led to a surge of sponsors who are involved in the crypto industry to make their way into the NBA. From actual crypto themselves all the way to casinos, sports betting companies, and many other platforms that promote digital currency, the NBA has integrated many of them, not just in the whole league itself, but the different teams as well.


So what are some of the biggest crypto deals in the NBA? and the Los Angeles Lakers earned the naming rights for the Staples Center in 2021 image

Of course, as popular as the Los Angeles Lakers can be, has done a great job to secure one of the biggest naming rights in the NBA. The legendary Staples Center, the home of the Lakers, Clippers, and the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, was renamed as the Arena back in 2021. On Christmas Day of that year, the Lakers unveiled the new name for the Arena, making it one of the biggest wins for crypto companies to take charge in the NBA. While details of the deal were spared from the public, rumors had it that the naming rights were slated to last up to 20 years worth $700 million.


This has catapulted to the front of the digital currency market, becoming a staple name in the industry as time went by. Increasing brand awareness and crypto popularity was a goal at the time, and now, the Lakers are still one of the most popular teams in the league, and is still enjoying and reaping the benefits of that deal.


StormX and the Portland Trail Blazers


StormX was the first crypto-based company to ever become a patch sponsor in the NBA. While many teams in the league usually favor sponsoring local companies in their patches, the Portland Trail Blazers decided to make a change by agreeing to a deal with StormX in the 2021-22 season. This deal was slated to last until 2026, with StormX making history as the first crypto brand to work with the team at the time. It was rumored that the contract had eight figures set as the price, which included an in-arena branding and be a part of the team’s marketing. This was off to a good start so far, but then the Blazers reported in the beginning of the 2022-23 season that they are now in search of a new sponsor for the jersey patch after ending their relationship with StormX at the time.

The Portland Trail Blazers made StormX their official jersey patch sponsor image


No details were released up to this date regarding the matter, which further silenced the allegations as to how StormX suddenly ended its run with the Blazers as a promising jersey patch sponsor.


CoinBase and the NBA


Coinbase and the NBA image

Since 2021, Coinbase has become the exclusive platform for all crypto in the NBA, the WNBA, and the G League. This has also included deals with the NBA 2K League and even USA Basketball. This marked the first crypto-related partnership that involved the whole league, and it also coincided with the NBA’s 75th year anniversary at the time. Partnering with Coinbase at the time proved to be a promising move as the NBA acknowledged the rising prominence of the crypto industry, and joining the hype was also a huge additional boost to the league’s popularity.


It did well in promoting the league’s 75th anniversary, and the league has seen well of the impressive strides that Coinbase has made as one of the crypto platforms that have managed to become a staple in the industry, allowing the NBA to come up with more exposure in social media among other target audiences.


What is the Future of Crypto in the NBA?


The NBA is expected to see more crypto sponsorship rise in numbers. What we have highlighted are just few deals that have managed to set the bar in the league for crypto sponsorships, and this just means that there is going to be more expectations as crypto progresses with more deals in the long run. Who knows, maybe we will see these crypto sponsorships in the NBA in the same light as other leagues.


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