The Kansas City Chiefs have been crowned the champions of Super Bowl LVII but the sports industry is no longer championing crypto.
Over 1.5 million official Super Bowl LVII NFT avatars have been minted since its launch last week, despite sports teams ending their relationship with crypto.
As part of Reddit’s Collectible Avatars series, the NFL teamed up with the social discussion site to release a series of NFT avatars to commemorate Super Bowl LVII.
The NFL NFT avatars were offered free to all Redditors, who could choose one of four unique styles to show their support for the Kansas City Chiefs or Philadelphia Eagles, or simply just the Super Bowl itself.
Reddit’s Collectible Avatars are minted on Polygon, and have totalled over 10 million mints in more than 6.6 million unique wallets.
Ready to score? We’re teaming up with the @NFL to bring you #SBLVII Collectible Avatars. And they’re free. Get yours today: https://t.co/EklR8sMJi3 pic.twitter.com/8IwYNBmyci— Reddit (@Reddit) February 6, 2023
The Super Bowl trading volume is predictably low due to it being a free mint, with secondary market prices on OpenSea starting at just 0.18 MATIC.
A Losing Game
Last year, Super Bowl LVI was dubbed “Crypto Bowl" because of the many cryptocurrency ads during the event. Singapore-based Crypto.com, which secured Matt Damon as their face, reportedly paid between US$6 million to US$7 million for a 30-second advert during the clash between the LA Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals.
The move came just months after LA’s iconic Staples Center was renamed the Crypto.com Arena.
At that time, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried said advertising in the Super Bowl was “a way to get our name out there. In terms of venues to do that, it’s hard to find a higher-profile one than this."
Read more: Super Bowl LVI Dubbed ‘Crypto Bowl’ as Digital Exchanges Scoop Up Ad Space
This year, crypto ads were not featured at all at the Super Bowl. Mark Evans, executive vice president of ad sales for Fox Sports said two crypto advertisers had commercials “booked and done” and two others were ”on the one-yard line.” Both fell through following the FTX fallout.
“There’s zero representation in that category on the day at all,” he said.
Despite misinformation spread by CoinDesk that Fox network had banned crypto ads, the truth is simply that the industry can no longer afford sports sponsorships.
2022 saw the strongest tie between crypto and sports. Here are just a few examples of last year's crypto-sports partnerships:
- Staples Center rebrands to Crypto.com
- Super Bowl LVI nicknamed “Crypto Bowl” as it draws millions of dollars from Crypto.com and FTX
- Crypto.com sponsors Philadelphia 76ers
- Tezos sponsors Manchester United
- NBA partners Coinbase
- NFL lobbies the SEC on blockchain technology
- Crypto enthusiasts form DAO to buy Denver Broncos
- Crypto.com signs deals with Ultimate Fighting Championship and Formula 1
- Bybit signs multi-year deal with F1 team Oracle Red Bull
- WAGMI United, a group of US cryptocurrency investors, buys Crawley Town FC, a football club playing in EFL League 2
Read more: Crypto’s Focus on Sports Advertising Reinforces its Dude-Culture
In terms of demand, sports fans are still expressing an interest in cryptos and NFTs. Aside from Super Bowl NFTs hitting over 1.5 million mints, an NFT featuring "Greek freak" Giannis Antetokounmpo sold for a record-breaking US$187,000 in ETH (13.888 ETH) - the highest ever on Sorare NBA.
Moving forward, it's too early to determine if, when and how crypto will revive its relationship with sports. Firms such as OKX have retained their presence in the Premier League through Manchester City, and Crypto.com was an official sponsor of the World Cup, but whether crypto will recover in time for next year's Super Bowl – the largest annual sporting event in the world – is yet to be seen.