It has been an interesting year for cryptocurrencies and sports, with different crypto and blockchain firms partnering with sports brands to take awareness to the next level.
This month, top blockchain firm Ava Labs entered a multi-year partnership with the Andretti Formula E team, marking what could be a milestone partnership for both industries.
A Mutually-Beneficial Partnership
In a press release, Andretti confirmed it would onboard Ava Labs - the makers of the popular Avalanche blockchain - into its suite. Avalanche will be Andretti’s title sponsor going forward, starting with the next season of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
The partnership was officially inaugurated at the Lisbon Blockchain Week - an immersive crypto conference gathering some of the best and brightest minds in the blockchain and crypto industries for a week-long session of dialogue and interactions. The Lisbon Blockchain Week ran from October 18 to 24, and featured speakers from some of the top companies in the tech, blockchain, and crypto sectors.
By partnering with Avalanche, Andretti has become the first Formula E team to mark an alliance with a blockchain company. Michael Andretti, the Avalanche Andretti Formula E head, said the partnership is ideal, as Formula E is ripe for optimization through blockchain technology. He added:
“Not only do we share in the goal of winning on the track, but we also share in the belief that blockchain technology can make a positive impact on the world of motorsport. This opens opportunities for new ways to engage with fans, and a chance to introduce state-of-the-art technology into various areas of the team. We’re excited to see where this partnership will go.”
The partnership will be financed through access to dollar payments as well as Avalanche’s AVAX tokens. AVAX has had an impressive year so far, rising by over 2,100 percent to date. The coin recently set a new all-time high at $80.30 last month, and partnership with a Formula E team is sure to help improve Avalanche’s standing - by extension, AVAX should benefit too.
It is expected that this partnership will be beneficial to all parties. Avalanche will benefit from having increased exposure to the rapidly expanding motorsport scene, which already has over 300 million viewers and a 156 percent growth in fans since the start of the last season.
Andretti has grown to be one of the top names in Formula E, competing in 7 seasons of the competition and racking up 8 pole positions, with 17 podiums and 7 wins in the ABB FIA Formula E tournament. The eighth season is expected to begin in Saudi Arabia on January 28, 2022.
Racing Feels the Blockchain Heat
While Avalanche’s news is interesting, it is far from the only integration between blockchain and the racing industry. The Fantom Foundation partnered with Formula One driver Pierre Gasly to launch non-fungible tokens (NFTs) exclusively on the Fantom blockchain.
Gasly, who currently races with team Scuderia Alpha Tauri, has earned three Formula One podium appearances despite being only 25 years old. His partnership with Fantom will see him launch exclusive NFTs depicting different moments in his exceptional career thus far. The French rider launched his NFTs on October 20, allowing prospective buyers to bid using Fantom’s wFTM tokens.
The partnership between Fantom and Gasly was first announced earlier this year, with Fantom’s brand and logo as part of the driver’s gear for the upcoming season.
Besides blockchain firms, the racing industry has enjoyed increased attention from traditional crypto firms. FTX, one of the fastest-growing exchanges and derivatives platforms, inked a deal with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team last month.
The deal between FTX and Mercedes kicked off at the Russian Grand Prix in September. It is expected to last multiple seasons, with FTX leveraging Mercedes’ reach to grow its influence in the sports sector.
Toto Wolff, the co-owner and chief executive of Mercedes’ F1 team, also explained the deal works for the brand, as it can leverage FTX’s infrastructure to delve into the crypto space in the future, including NFT drops, participation in corporate social responsibility projects, and improved payment efficiency using FTX Pay.
As part of the deal, the FTX logo will be featured on Mercedes trucks, in the team’s official garage, and around communications and hospitality facilities. The exchange also will have access to Mercedes team members, including Valtteri Bottas and World Champion Lewis Hamilton.