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Major Esports Team TSM Drops Record-Breaking $210M Sponsorship Deal with FTX

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 3 min read
Source: AdobeStock / Nuthawut

Professional esports organization TSM has suspended its partnership with FTX and dropped ‘FTX’ from its name. And it’s far from being the only company to end ties with the collapsed crypto exchange.

Per the TSM announcement, the FTX branding will be removed from player jerseys, as well as from all media profiles owned by the organization, the team, and the players. 

It stated that,

“This process may take some time to complete as some social platforms have made changes to their product features.”

This was likely referring to Twitter as TSM was unable to change its name there and remove ‘FTX’ from it due to Twitter’s new verification rules.

The announcement added that TSM is a stable, strong, and profitable organization that expects to see profit in the current and future years.

TSM added that,

“The current situation with FTX does not affect any part of TSM’s operating plan, which was set earlier this year.”

TSM partnered with FTX in June 2021, and at the time, the multi-year partnership was valued at $210 million. “As part of this historic new relationship, and FTX.US have, together, secured exclusive naming rights for TSM, which will now be known as ‘TSM FTX’,” they said.

The partnership announcement also stated that TSM would distribute crypto to each of its players and employees and would purchase $1 million in FTT, FTX’s native token.

However, according to The Washington Post, citing a TSM spokesperson,

“TSM has not held FTT since Q2 2022. We do not hold any cryptocurrency on our balance sheet currently.”

The spokesperson also claimed that TSM did not distribute FTT to employees.

As reported, on November 11, CEO Sam Bankman-Fried resigned, and the exchange filed for bankruptcy. Furthermore, FTX is under investigation by, among others, the US Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Several days ago, the organization sent out an announcement that said that TSM had been “closely following the situation surrounding FTX,” and that they had “no insight into the matter other than what has been reported publicly.”

“We are currently consulting legal counsel to determine the best next steps to protect our team, staff, fans and players,” the team said in a comment shared with three days before ending the partnership.

Pulling plugs: Visa, Miami Heat, Furia, Formula 1

TSM is just one in an increasingly longer row of companies ending their partnerships with the defunct exchange. 

Payments giant Visa ended its ties with FTX, Reuters reported on Monday. The financial services company’s official statement said that,

“We have terminated our global agreements with FTX and their U.S. debit card program is being wound down by their issuer.”

They described the situation as “unfortunate,” adding that the company is “monitoring developments closely.”

FTX and Visa announced an expanded partnership in October, which included plans to introduce account-linked Visa debit cards in 40 new countries.

Furthermore, on November 12, the Miami Heat said that it, with Miami-Dade County, was taking immediate action to end its business relationships with FTX. It added that,

“We will be working together to find a new naming rights partner for the arena.”

The American professional basketball team’s home venue was branded FTX Arena in 2021. The arena was still referred to as ‘FTX Arena’ for a game last weekend, but signage and the name will soon come down, ESPN reported.

And that wasn’t the end. The Brazilian esports organization Furia ended a $3.2 million sponsorship deal with FTX, co-founder André Akkari announced on November 11. As a result, all branding was removed.

The statement said,

“The objective is to prevent the current phase of the company from harming any fan.”

Mercedes’ Formula 1 team has suspended its deal (also signed in 2021) with FTX as well, which resulted in the logo being removed from the team’s cars. Autosport quoted a team spokesman on November 11 as saying,

“As a first step, we have suspended our partnership agreement with FTX. This means the company will no longer appear on our race car and other branded assets from this weekend. We will continue to monitor closely the situation as it evolves. “

At 10:15 UTC on Thursday morning, FTT was trading at $1.63, down 4.6% in a day, 26% in a week, and 93% in a month. 


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