UFC gets sports cryptocurrency money with ‘fight kit’ sponsorship


(L-R) Conor McGregor of Ireland punches Dustin Poirier in a lightweight fight during the UFC 257 event inside Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 23, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Chris Unger | UFC | Getty Images

Endeavor-owned Ultimate Fighting Championship agreed to a fight kit deal with cryptocurrency platform Crypto.com on Wednesday, the company told CNBC.

The multiyear agreement will give Crypto.com a brand presence on fight kit items used throughout UFC including apparel (shorts, top bras, walk-out hoodies) worn by athletes during competition, and clothing worn by the training staff. In addition, Crypto.com will also own the rights to UFC’s newly created “Cryptocurrency Platform Partner” sponsorship category.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed publicly but according to people familiar with the deal, it’s worth $175 million over 10 years.

Crypto.com is a platform that allows users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. The company makes revenue from transaction fees and said it has more than 10 million users on its platform. Last week, the company also secured a $100 million sponsorship deal with Formula 1.

In a statement, Crypto.com co-founder and CEO Kris Marszalek called the deal with UFC a “historic moment,” adding it would help the sport “accelerate the world’s transition to cryptocurrency.”

Added Marszalek: “This is just the beginning of a long relationship with UFC, and we’re looking forward to what we will build together.”

The crypto sponsorship space remains active in 2021. The National Basketball Association landed its first team jersey patch agreement with a crypto firm last week when the Portland Trail Blazers signed a deal with StormX, and before that, the Miami Heat struck an arena naming rights pact with FTX.us. Other NBA teams, including the San Antonio Spurs, could be targets, too. The Spurs have a void to fill as AT&T will not renew its arena naming rights pact that expires in 2022. The team plans to evaluate potential crypto partners to take over the arena name.

Deiveson Figueiredo (red gloves) and Brandon Moreno (blue gloves) during UFC 263 on June 12, 2021, at Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ.

Louis Grasse | PxImages | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images

Endeavor, the well-known Hollywood talent agency, purchased the remaining stake in UFC in April – consolidating the mixed martial arts entity before going public on the New York Stock Exchange. UFC also has an exclusive licensing agreement with NFT company Dapper Labs, makers of the NBA’s Top Shot product.

“We’re in unbelievable shape in that business (UFC) right now,” Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” in April. He added Endeavor is the “best-positioned company for where the world is going in entertainment.”

UFC will host its “UFC 264” main event on Saturday, featuring popular fighter Conor McGregor against Dustin Poirier for the third time. The fighters split their previous two matches, including a McGregor loss in January at UFC 257.

Endeavor has a market cap of $11.2 billion, and shares of the company closed down 4% on Tuesday, trading at roughly $25 per share.



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