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Crypto Sports Sponsorship Bounces Back as Manchester City Players Head to the Metaverse

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • OKX has partnered with several players on football club Manchester City in launching its new metaverse platform.
  • With OKX Collective, fans can have a more immersive experience with their favorite team, including unique player-based experiences.
  • The partnership represents a return to crypto sponsorships, after a dismal year had put many companies off.
  • promo

Manchester City players have partnered with crypto exchange OKX for the launch of “an immersive metaverse experience.”

The world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume is partnering with the Premier League club for the release of OKX Collective. According to OKX, the “unique virtual metaverse environment,” is specially designed for football fans to interact with their favorite team. In the shared virtual space, fans will have access to exclusive training content, and other rewards such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

In order to promote the launch of the platform, OKX recruited Manchester City players Jack Grealish, Rúben Dias, Ilkay Gündoğan and Alex Greenwood. OKX Collective will also feature unique digital experiences based on these players’ playing style and personal interests. Dias remarked that he looked forward to sharing his match day preparations with fans through the platform. OKX is also the official training kit partner for Manchester City for its 2022/23 season.

Crypto Sponsorship Makes a Return

The partnership is indicative of a recent reversal in sports sponsorships in crypto. During the bull markets of 2021, successive football clubs launched fan tokens with Chiliz, including Manchester City. Crypto exchange FTX managed to secure sponsorships with some of the world’s top athletes. However, these partners were left reeling with the exchange’s collapse last year, turning many companies off to crypto.

Fortunately, the World Cup brought some renewed enthusiasm for crypto from football fans, with Crypto.com sponsorship and promotion. Sales of Chiliz fan tokens surged in anticipation of the event, though underperformed during the event itself. Now as crypto sales recovered this past month, so has the potential for prospective partnerships. Last week, crypto casino Stake.com signed a $100 million partnership with the Alfa Romeo Formula One team.

Metaverse Misstep

Although, among all the Web3 prospects to invest in, OKX may have chosen unwisely with its metaverse push. Last year, Facebook jumped headlong into plans for the metaverse with its rebranding as Meta Platforms. So far, this hasn’t been seen as a prudent decision.

According to financial reports, Meta’s Reality Labs division experienced a total loss of $13.7 billion in 2022. Amid massive tech layoffs last year, Meta contributed by shedding its headcount by some 11,000, some 13% of staff. Although shareholders are concerned about this digression from Meta’s core business, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg remains determined on his metaverse ambitions.

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Nicholas Pongratz
Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage.
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