Cryptocurrency companies have been working to strengthen their customer base and build the right relationships. One of the hottest approaches has been through partnerships in the sports industry.
But, while crypto firms have had success landing partnerships with some of the biggest sports names in the United States, their attempts outside of the country haven't been as successful.
Criminal Ties Put a Hold on FC Barcelona's Deal With Ownix
In November, two of the biggest football clubs in Europe canceled their crypto partnerships. FC Barcelona, arguably the most successful club of the past decade, canceled its sponsorship deal with non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace Ownix after the arrest of Moshe Hogeg - one of the company's consultants.
A famous Israeli crypto mogul, Hogeg was arrested on charges of assault and fraud involving cryptocurrencies. According to reports, Hogeg has strong ties with Ownix, with the entrepreneur even listing the company as one of his interests on LinkedIn.
FC Barcelona was scheduled to auction its first NFT collection through Ownix. The two parties announced their partnership early in November. The club claimed it would create and sell NFTs and digital collectibles depicting some of the most iconic moments in the club's history.
Announcing the dissolution of the agreement, Barcelona explained in a statement on its website:
"In light of information received today that goes against the Club's values, FC Barcelona hereby communicate the cancellation of the contract to create and market NFT digital assets with Ownix with immediate effect."
The club hasn't yet confirmed if it will still run its NFT drop. However, given that there are enough platforms to partner with, this shouldn't be much of a problem if BFC Barcelona wants to move forward with the endeavor.
For its part, Ownix has been quick to deny any organic links to Hogeg.
Manchester City Closes Its Deal With an Obscure Crypto Company
Manchester City, arguably the most valuable club in England, also recently canceled a crypto deal. The club signed a deal with 3Key Technologies - a crypto firm with an incredibly short history. According to reports, 3Key has been a mysterious company, and it simply listed Manchester City as a "decentralized finance trading analysis" partner.
The company's founders had few online profiles, and the partnership was incredibly sketchy. In a now-deleted statement, Man City stated that it was looking to join 3Key to "simplify the decentralized finance (DeFi) trading analysis user experience through the power of football to engage with our fans with a range of content and activations."
Eventually, Manchester City canceled the partnership. In a statement published online by a reporter, Man. City reportedly commented:
"Prompted by the club's interactions with 3Key Technologies in recent days, Manchester City is now conducting further inquiries regarding 3Key Technologies and the partnership has been suspended pending satisfactory resolution to all of those inquiries."
The club added that it conducts proper due diligence on the companies it partners with. Also, while it had announced the partnership, it hadn't activated it. So, it was free to cancel.
Track Records Necessary
Announcements like these go to show that traditional companies won't just accept any crypto endorsement. Companies need a track record, strong staff, and proper structures to gain the prominence required.
In the United States, the crypto firms that enter into solid partnerships - especially in the sports space - are the most established companies.
One of the most popular U.S. crypto firms, Crypto.com, bought the rights to the Staples Center. And one of the most valuable crypto exchanges, FTX, is signing deals with sports teams and athletes.
For now, no company will be able to sign a major sports sponsorship deal without showing a track record.