Kentucky Basketball Team Will Get Payouts From FTX in New Deal
(Bloomberg) -- Basketball players at the University of Kentucky can now monetize on their brand and image thanks to a new crypto-centric partnership.
FTX.US, the U.S. arm of the fast-growing FTX crypto exchange, on Wednesday announced a name, image and likeness sponsorship deal with the school’s men’s team, whereby each Wildcats player will receive monthly stipends, paid out in U.S. dollars via FTX debit cards. Each can also create their own non-fungible tokens on the FTX NFT platform and can keep most of the revenue on such sales, according to a press release. The athletes, in return, will act as brand ambassadors for FTX.
“We’re thrilled to work with players from one of the most successful collegiate basketball programs in the country,” Avi Dabir, vice president of business development at FTX.US, said in the release. “Outside of the well-deserved financial compensation, we will be assisting in the student athletes’ education of digital assets so that they can make informed investment decisions as they look to enter the space.”
The National Collegiate Athletic Association voted earlier this year to allow student-athletes to exploit their names, images and likenesses. It was a landmark move that finally allowed players to profit from autographs, social-media posts or commercials, for instance. Many companies started to look for ways to partner with athletes, especially at schools whose players have stardom and reputability.
Kentucky’s basketball team is one of the most celebrated -- it’s got eight NCAA championships and 17 Final Four appearances, according to Wednesday’s press release.
FTX’s partnership with the Wildcats aligns with its vision of expanding its presence in the world of sports in a bid to attract new audiences.
The crypto exchange, which recently topped a $25 billion valuation, has been spending big to make that happen. It sponsors Major League Baseball, bought naming rights to the arena where the Miami Heat basketball team plays and entered a long-term partnership with celebrity couple Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen. FTX has also purchased an ad in the upcoming Super Bowl -- the crown jewel of sorts in the company’s push to corner the sports sponsorship arena.
“We’re excited to come on board as a team and look forward to learning more about the world of cryptocurrency from one of the top companies in the industry,” Davion Mintz, guard for the Wildcats, said in the release.
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