Coinbase Inks Sponsorship Deal With NBA, WNBA

Coinbase announced a series of tie-ups with professional basketball on Tuesday, declaring that it will be the "exclusive cryptocurrency platform partner" for the NBA and the WNBA, as well as for NBA affiliate leagues, and USA Basketball.

The company said the arrangement will be on display starting tonight as the NBA's season kicks off with a "brand presence" during national televised games.

In a blog post, the U.S.-based exchange said the sponsorship will span multiple years and involve content creation as well as campaigns that will aim to educate fans about developments in the cryptocurrency world.

“As a trusted cryptocurrency platform used by millions, Coinbase is a natural fit as the NBA’s first-ever partner in this thriving category,” said Kerry Tatlock, the NBA's SVP of Global Marketing Partnerships and Media, in a statement.

Coinbase's sponsorship deal comes after rival FTX has aggressively pushed into the field of sports marketing, including forging a deal with Major League Baseball that has seen FTX logos appear on every umpire's uniform.

FTX also signed an agreement to put its name on the arena of the NBA's Miami Heat—creating a potentially awkward situation when it comes to televised basketball games in Miami.

"Hehe. Good for them!" FTX's founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, replied in response to a question about the potential for overlapping sponsorships during Miami Heat games. Coinbase did not offer a comment.

The NBA has already been active on the cryptocurrency front, most notably through its NFT program known as TopShot. The league's NFT activities are currently being backed by Dapper Labs and its Flow blockchain. It's unclear whether that arrangement will remain in place or if Coinbase, which is launching an NFT platform of its own, will seek to exert control over basketball-related NFTs.

In addition to the NBA and WNBA, the Coinbase sponsorship covers the NBA G League and NBA 2K League.

This story was updated to include comment from FTX's founder.

Publication date: 
10/19/2021 - 18:30
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