- Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant has signed on with Coinbase as a spokesman for the brand.
- Durant’s deal is the latest of a slew of cryptocurrency companies entering into promotional arrangements with sports leagues, players and teams.
- Earlier this year, crypto brokerage FTX signed up Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady and Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry to help promote their brand.
Didn’t we just say something about the flurry of sports properties signing sponsorship deals with cryptocurrency focused companies? We previously reported on Crypto.com and their sponsorship deal with the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) expansion Angel City Football Club. That is one of the latest of an onslaught of crypto/sports co-promotions that has included huge names like Tom Brady and Stephen Curry. Crypto firms now have their names on arenas with the FTX Arena in Miami and the forthcoming rebranding of the Staples Center in Los Angeles as the Crypto.com Arena.
One of the most visible companies in the crypto world is Coinbase which gained a lot of mainstream attention when it went public in 2021 , joining the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker symbol COIN. If you watched the World Chess Championship late last year in addition to Magnus Carlsen’s 7.5 to 3.5 beatdown of challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi you saw the Coinbase logo all over the place–most visibly on the contestants’ chairs. Coinbase has just announced another high profile sponsorship deal with NBA superstar Kevin Durant. Durant has two NBA Championships leaving him three short of five time champion Magnus Carlsen but is still one of the biggest names in professional basketball.
According to Durant’s manager, Rich Kleiman, his client will join Coinbase as a spokesperson with the goal to establish him as ‘a face of the brand’. Durant does a limited number of brand partnerships and when he does he favors companies that integrate him in various parts of their business. That’s the plan with Coinbase–in fact, Durant is already an investor in the cryptocurrency exchange through his Thirty Five Ventures investment fund. Durant’s group joined the Coinbase $100 million USD funding round in 2017 and has gone on to invest in other crypto companies including NFT marketplace Open Sea.
Durant says that even as a young man he was interested in business and is hoping to pursue more opportunities going forward:
“Even when I was younger, I was always curious about the business side of things and always trying to learn from the people I’ve gotten to meet along the way. Basketball was always number one for me, but it was clear that there was a lot more that I could accomplish if I had the right team around me.”
In the crypto world, hard to find a better team than Coinbase. News site Bitcoin.com talked about the wave of cryptocurrency partnerships with the sports world during 2021:
Durant’s partnership follows a slew of sports deals that have taken place this year between sports-related agencies and athletes, and crypto companies. For instance, FTX has inked deals with the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones, and seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady and his supermodel wife Gisele Bündchen. FTX has also partnered with Sports Illustrated and renamed the Miami Heat Arena to “FTX Arena.”
The exchange Crypto.com made a deal to rename the Los Angeles Lakers’ Staples Center to “Crypto.com Arena.” The exchange Crypto.com also inked a deal with the MMA entertainment firm UFC. The largest digital asset fund manager, Grayscale, has partnered with the National Football League (NFL) team the New York Giants. In fact, there have been so many sports deals this year that it has become one of the biggest trends in the crypto industry in 2021.
Crypto and related technologies are blowing up and will become an even bigger deal in the years to come. Partnerships like Coinbase’s deal with Kevin Durant will help expand their reach beyond the ‘early adopters’.