Many public figures who endorsed FTX are in trouble. But how did the American singer Taylor Swift dodge the SBF bullet?
FTX, once the second-largest centralized crypto exchange, was known for its aggressive marketing campaigns. The brand “FTX” found its place in various international sports events. The exchange signed various sponsorship agreements with well-known celebrities and was even in talks with Taylor Swift. But the deal never happened.
FTX Marketing Campaigns
Last year, FTX promoted itself by purchasing advertisement slots for America’s one of the most favorite sporting events, the Super Bowl. An estimated 100 million viewers witness the event every year. FTX also signed a 19-year deal worth $135 million for the naming rights of the Miami Heat stadium. The stadium took the name FTX Arena in June 2021. But, as FTX collapsed, the Miami Heat have officially terminated their naming rights deal for FTX Arena and are looking for alternative sponsors.
Even when FTX was on the brink of collapse, it still had its logo spread around the boundaries of the stadium for the cricket world cup. When Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) was preparing to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the term “FTX Diamond Hands” was used to describe good fielding.
The Celebrities who Endorsed FTX in Deep Trouble
Not just sporting events, FTX was endorsed by some of the most well-known celebrities. The Supermodel Gisele Bündchen and sports personalities like Tom Brady, Shaquille O’Neal, Steph Curry, and Naomi Osaka are some celebrities that promoted FTX. Even the Canadian entrepreneur and Shark Tank personality Kevin O’Leary promoted FTX.
Some of these celebrities are in deep trouble now as they also invested in FTX in return for equity stakes. With the exchange’s demise, the fate of their invested capital is unknown.
Apart from the loss of investment, they are also in legal trouble. Last month, an Oklahoma resident Edwin Garrison filed a class-action lawsuit against Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX. The lawsuit also held celebrities who endorsed FTX liable for investors’ losses worth $11 billion. Taylor Swift’s stars aligned perfectly to save her from potentially being a part of this lawsuit.
A Swift Exit
According to a Financial Times report, Sam Bankman-Fried was a fan of Taylor Swift, and hence FTX was in negotiations with her for a $100 million sponsorship deal. The deal never saw the light of day because many senior executives were not in favor of the deal. They urged SBF to scrap the deal because they were unsure whether the previous celebrity deals were reaching their target audience to give an appropriate return on investment.
Another person close to the discussion said, “Taylor would not, and did not, agree to an endorsement deal. The discussion was around a potential tour sponsorship that did not happen.”
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