In June 2021, the cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, announced a $210 million deal between themselves and leading esports club, Team SoloMid. The deal included both sponsorship and naming rights and caused shockwaves to reverberate through both the crypto and esports industries.
This wasn’t the first meeting of the two industries though. A few years before, the popular Team Vitality and OG were distributing crypto fan tokens and generating revenue via social platforms. While gaining some publicity, and providing an introduction for crypto into esports, it was the 2021 deal, however, that really got everyone’s attention.
Jumping On the Band Wagon
Since the deal, there has been an unprecedented flurry of similar sponsorships. Uniswap and Coinbase, as well as further deals made by FTX, have sponsored several major teams. They have also aligned themselves with key tournaments and leagues.
This new marriage of industries is showing no signs of slowing down over 2022, with a growing number of NFT and Web3 initiatives from various teams and leagues. There has also been a noticeable increase in NFT-powered games.
Esports Start-ups In Need Of Financial Backing
It’s become no secret that esports start-ups are desperate for cash. Many start-ups feel pressured to spend well over their budget, often in blind hope that they will be rewarded later on, once they make it. Countless teams haven’t though, and whole leagues have crumbled and faded over the years.
Countless more, however, have taken their place, with sponsorship in greater need than ever. There has also been a record number of losses over the past two years, some reaching into the tens of millions. Many have been forced to cut staff as a result. Team FaZe Clan alone disclosed a $36.9 million loss for 2021.
The Blockchain Rollercoaster
So far, crypto appears to be continuing its rollercoaster ride through the financial markets. Many industry figures, including in iGaming and esports, have yet to place their trust in it, and are even pushing back at its implementation. Common concerns include the high energy requirements of blockchain, the potential for crypto scams, and the use of NFTs to fleece players of their cash.
Others, however, believe that NFT-backed games are precisely what is needed to shake up the more traditional game publishing models, and provide more room for growth. The benefits and versatility of crypto and NFTs are also undeniable, with the potential to create markets within markets, and boost revenue several-fold. It can also be used across multiple games and platforms, making it ideal for esports and iGaming transactions, and betting.
Esports Crypto Betting
CS:GO’s decision to adopt crypto for live-stream esports betting has proven to be another significant milestone for the convergence of the two industries. This has directly followed the rising success of crypto casinos and betting over the past years.
A Crypto And Esports Future
With industries and technology developing so rapidly, it’s hard to predict what will happen over the coming years, especially with innovative sites such as play live casino leading the way. What seems pretty clear though, is that despite misgivings, crypto and esports are well-suited for each other. Most likely they will continue their affiliation and cultivate further mutual benefit.