Recently, it’s been rumoured that two of the biggest crypto exchanges, i.e. Binance and FTX are prepared to go all out and even head-to-head in a bid to become FC Barcelona’s official jersey sponsor.
There are already strong linkages between the cash-strapped club and cryptocurrency. Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce giant with its own domestic crypto exchange business, is the Catalan club’s current sponsor.
A fan token is used by the club, as it is by many others. And a few of the team’s former legends have officially embraced cryptocurrency through sponsorship agreements.
For example, Lionel Messi, who just left Barcelona for French rival Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), made headlines in the crypto industry when a portion of his signing-on fee was paid in cryptocurrency.
But the links between Binance and two other former stars – Andres Iniesta (currently playing in Japan) and Luis Suarez – are even stronger (now with Atletico Madrid). The former just announced his own relationship with the crypto exchange on Twitter.
— Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) November 24, 2021
However, that post got him in trouble with Spain’s National Securities Market Commission (CNMV), which responded by chastising him on the same social media platform, warning him that cryptoassets are “unregulated products” with “related risks.”
Meanwhile, Suarez has spent much of November informing his 17 million or more Twitter followers how “simple” it is to manage their cryptocurrency portfolios with Binance.
— Luis Suarez (@LuisSuarez9) November 22, 2021
Furthermore, in April of this year, Binance listed the Barcelona fan token, launching it with a special introductory deal.
Per Mundo Deportivo, Rakuten is keen to renew its deal, which ends in June 2022, but “the two offers that are most developed and advanced” are from Binance and FTX.
Biddings for the jersey deal
According to an EFE story, two other offers have already been rejected, one of which came from an unknown “Middle East-based crypto business.”
The CNMV has already expressed reservations about crypto-related advertising and might likely object to one of the world’s most powerful teams wearing jerseys with crypto-related emblems on them.
The media site did, however, suggest that the exchanges may get around the difficulty by promoting one of their other (non-crypto) services on the first team shirt, rather than their core business.
Barcelona, according to the same source, is holding out for a USD 67 million offer. Rakuten’s current deal is reported to have cost the Japanese company about USD 62.3 million.
And the crypto-Barcelona connections don’t stop there. A smaller sleeve sponsorship contract with the crypto firm Chiliz and its non-fungible token (NFT) project partners.com, according to the same media outlet, had already been finalized — and the club was waiting for an appropriate time to make the news known.