Crypto Sports Sponsorship Moves into Fast Lane with OKX F1 Deal
The crypto industry has stepped up another gear in its race to win the hearts, minds, and some money of sporting fans the world over. Following the news that Crypto.com will be one of the main sponsors of the World Cup in Qatar later this year, the crypto exchange OKX has announced that it has become the “largest primary partner of the McLaren Formula 1 team.
The deal takes immediate effect, per materials shared with Cryptonews.com, and is “the first of its kind.” The firm claimed that “no other crypto company besides OKX can claim to be the largest partner to a Formula One team.” Meanwhile, in 2021, Crypto.com became both the inaugural partner and one of the global partners of the Formula 1 'Sprint' series, as well as their NFT partner.
McLaren currently sits fourth in the constructors’ championship, and its drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo are currently ranked sixth and 11th respectively. Norris managed a podium finish in the Italian Grand Prix, and the team is racing in a new MCL36 car this season.
OKX branding will be used on the car and drivers’ attire at the Miami Grand Prix this week. The first round of qualifying begins on Friday.
OKX added that the deal also includes sponsorship rights for the McLaren Shadow eSports team and noted that “McLaren and OKX are working on much more than brand exposure” with the new arrangement.
Last June, McLaren Racing announced a long-term sponsorship deal with the Turkish crypto exchange Bitci.com, which also included the release of NFTs and a fan token. However, the sponsorship agreement was terminated with no reasons given for the termination and no mention of the future of the fan token.
Other crypto firms are also active in the F1 area, including the OKX rival Binance, which has partnered with the BWT Alpine team. And there will be another cryptoasset-related sponsor making its debut in Miami: In February, Crypto.com was unveiled as the race’s official sponsor. Also in February, Bybit, one of the top 10 crypto exchanges by spot volume, entered into a major sponsorship agreement with the Formula One team Oracle Red Bull Racing.
Based in Woking in the UK, McLaren is one of the biggest names in F1 and the likes of Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, and Lewis Hamilton have won driver’s titles in its cars. The Brazilian driver Emerson Fittipaldi won the team’s first driver’s prize in 1974 – although the team is not quite the dominant it once was: McLaren’s last constructors’ title came back in 1998.
In the 1980s, however, the team was the dominant force in F1, bagging back-to-back trophies in both categories.
Last month, the team sealed a secondary sponsorship deal with the internet giant Google.
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(Updated at 13:23 UTC with more details about Crypto.com.)