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How crypto & NFTs are affecting sports

Sports & crypto collab was meant to be. Now is the time, the newest trend among crypto projects is sports sponsorships and partnerships in football, Formula 1, UFC, esports, basketball, etc. These multi-million collabs aim to increase engagement with sports fans, and it creates interesting, but also a few “what the heck” moments for us.

Crypto deals with sports teams and leagues grew over 100% in 2021 and are expected to reach $5 billion by 2026, according to sports analytics firm Nielsen Sports. Now that we’ve launched our latest MVP for public bets including the esports and traditional sports categories, we wanted to share the sports & crypto union with the IBY family! 🔥

Teams using NFTs

The sports industry is now fully embracing NFTs as a way to improve the fan experience. We can hear you say — what are these sports NFTs? 🤔 Sports NFTs are digital collectibles and trading cards of your favorite players in any sports you can think of. Teams and organizations are creating their own digital collectibles. This means they can further monetize their brand and actually remove some of those intermediaries.

Sports NFTs include trading cards, memorabilia, sport kits and clips. Let’s check them out 👇

NBA Top Shot

Top Shot is a licensed online exchange that sells NBA’s highlights as NFTs and it has generated around $29 million in sales volume for the third month of 2022.



Sorare is a global fantasy football game where users can buy and sell footballers in their team. Participants can not only buy and sell the digital player cards but also build a team and get rewards based on real performance through a soccer fantasy league.


AC Milan

One of the biggest soccer teams in the world, the Italian club AC Milan recently launched an NFT campaign. Working with BitMEX, the club announced 100 NFTs to act as ‘loyalty tools’. The NFTs are ways for fans to access exclusive rewards and experiences.


Warrington Wolves

Warrington Wolves have become the first rugby league club in the world to drop an NFT collection.

The collection is limited to seven tokens and each one features a unique video message from the player plus a physical shirt signed by the player. The club believes the move into NFTs provides fans with a new way to get involved with the club.


An obvious part of the success of sports NFTs is based on the idea of old card collections. In the past, collecting cards of famous players and trying to complete a team collection was a fun way for fans to connect with their team.

The main difference in the new NFT collections is the idea of exclusivity. While doubles of cards used to get swapped in school playgrounds in the past, today there is more of a unique aspect attached to each series.

Fan Tokens


Fan tokens or sports cryptocurrencies are digital assets that enable sports teams, leagues, etc. to strengthen fan engagement. Fans can buy fan tokens directly from the platform, then trade them for certain experiences or advantages. These tokens make fans more than just observers. A fan token converts a passive fan into an invested fan.

Some examples of fan tokens are Manchester City Fan Token, Paris Saint Germain, Lazio Fan Token, FC Barcelona, AC Milan Fan Token, Atletico De Madrid, etc. and with the spike of cryptocurrencies & NFTs, we believe many more teams will have their fan tokens in the near future.

Holders of fan tokens can participate in decision-making processes. Having a right to vote increases the value a fan gives to the sports ecosystem. It also makes every step taken by the team more important for the holder of a fan token.

Partnerships & Sponsorships

Sponsorships have led to an increased awareness of cryptocurrencies amongst the fans, investors and teams, and we have some notable examples of sports teams expanding their advertising budgets to partner with cryptocurrency platforms, in order to gain more brand recognition 📈

In March 2021, Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One became the first Formula One team to partner with a cryptocurrency firm. Crypto.com no doubt gained greater brand exposure on Aston Martin F1 cars in competitions worldwide.

In February 2022, Manchester United F.C. announced a multi-year sponsorship deal with Tezos valued at $27 million per year. According to the deal, Tezos branding will appear on the soccer team’s warm-up jerseys before matches.

Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, made a number of notable deals in the sports environment. Among them is the sponsorship of TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2021) in January, the sponsorship of the Argentine Football Association (AFA), and the partnership with Alpine F1 team to build a platform for fans to buy NFTs.

Cryptocurrency in sports


Cryptocurrency is evolving as a way of payment. — They’re being used to allow fans to purchase tickets and merchandise, and for clubs to pay players’ salaries and transfer fees.

In early 2018, Harunustaspor, a Turkish football club, became the world’s first football team to purchase a player using Bitcoin. The player Ömer Faruk Kıroğlu, received 0.0524 in Bitcoin (£385) and ₺2,500 (£470) as part of the deal with Harunustaspor.

In July 2018, Gibraltar United Football Club partially paid its players’ salaries in cryptocurrency after a partnership deal with cryptocurrency platform Quantocoin. Quantocoin also owns 25% of the Italian Serie C football club Rimini FC 1912, which became the first football club to be purchased by a cryptocurrency firm.

It’s not wrong to say that in the near future, NFT tickets and crypto salaries will become an every-day occasion.🤷‍♀️

The crypto market is extremely volatile and purchasing digital assets is deemed a high-risk investment strategy. However, these assets are slowly becoming a part of modern-day culture. It looks like NFTs, cryptocurrency and sports will be closely linked for some time to come. As teams and leagues begin to offer fans more unique experiences, the value of digital assets will continue to rise.

While it is tough to predict how the market will look in future years, for now, the buzz surrounding NFTs & cryptocurrency looks set to continue — what you can do is craft a strategy and create a winning bet! Here you can find some public bets to join on IBY, why not win the next football match alongside your favorite team! 👇

Chelsea — Tottenham | 13.8.2022.

Manchester United — Liverpool | 20.8.2022.

Hop on to ibetyou.xyz and relieve your NFT-skeptic friend of their money 😉 If your friend is right, well, there are always jobs at McDonald’s, right? 😅

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