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A large chunk of OKX’s $25-$50 million annual advertising budget goes towards its sports deals.
Crypto exchange OKX wants its deals with Formula 1 team McLaren and UEFA Champions League-winning team Manchester City to last a decade. The company reportedly spends $25-$50 million per year in its sponsorship deals with the two sports teams.
OKX’s Global Chief Marketing Officer Haider Rafique told The Block in an interview that the company has a five-year deal with McLaren and hopes to extend it to at least ten years. Partnerships between crypto firms and sporting brands have taken a major hit in the past months but OKX appears determined to stand by its partners.
The web3 company unveiled a new version of the McLaren race car emblazoned with the OKX logo ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix scheduled for this weekend (15-17 September). The limited-edition Stealth Mode livery was designed by both McLaren and OKX and will be carried on the McLaren MCL60 F1 cars at both this weekend’s Grand Prix and the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix (22-24 September).
The design will also be featured on limited-edition t-shirts that will be available through the McLaren store and at a limited giveaway for attendees of the token 2049 web3 conference taking place in Singapore.
In a press release, Rafique commented on the design:
“Success on the track, and in the Web3 world, is only possible through teamwork, creativity and innovation. Stealth Mode is inspired by these common principles. It’s also a way for us to celebrate the return of F1 to the Asia Pacific region, which is the epicentre of Web3 in many ways. As Stealth Mode hits the track this weekend we wish the best of luck to Lando and Oscar in what we hope will be a strong performing MCL60.”
A large chunk of OKX’s $25-$50 million annual advertising budget goes towards its sports deals with the two teams. Rafique stated that the numbers vary adding that the exchange spent an extra $6-7 million on its McLaren deal this year.
Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, said of the partnership:
“Our partnership with OKX goes from strength to strength, and it’s fantastic to celebrate it with this incredible livery. Stealth Mode flips our race car’s colours, bringing something exciting and different to these two great races in Singapore and Japan. […] OKX are a dedicated supporter of McLaren’s journey, and in turn we’re proud to bring our partnership to life on track through the global platform of Formula 1.”
Generally, sponsorship deals between sports teams and crypto firms have been fraught with challenges largely due to regulatory concerns and budgeting issues stemming from an embattled crypto market. The abrupt collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange was a major blow to the sector. Prior to its collapse, the company had deals with major sports entities such as the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One (F1) team and the Miami Heats stadium, for which it purchased the naming rights for $135 million. The relationship between sports brands and crypto firms had already been shaky, with Crypto.com pulling out of a deal to be the chief sponsor of the UEFA Champions League football competition. The FTX saga only caused a bigger rift.
It remains to be seen how sports brands and crypto firms interact in the future.