According to sources, Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX exchange held discussions earlier this year about sponsoring Manchester United and Liverpool of the English Premier League.
FTX’s Broad Ambitions
Those conversations highlight how eager the now-bankrupt corporation was to spend a sizable quantity of money in order to broaden its global influence.
The collapse of FTX, which featured an unexplained $8 billion cash shortage, is being investigated by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, and the bankruptcy monitor of the US Justice Department has called for an independent investigation. Bankman-Fried is the subject of SEC regulatory inquiries and class action lawsuits.
$100M Plus Sponsorship Deals
Sources who wanted to remain anonymous said that the sums involved with each of the prospective multiyear deals ranged from close to $100 million to considerably more than that. FTX finally chose not to sponsor either team. Bankman-Fried voiced uncertainty about the worth of such sponsorships in a message on Slack that was posted in February and examined by Bloomberg News.
“I’d love to see a comparison to other deals we’ve done, estimates of how many users those have given us, and what that implies about this – e.g. FTX Arena,” he wrote, referencing the company’s partnership with the home of the Miami Heat.
Additionally, he requested a survey of each club and questioned the client conversion rates of such offers. According to the Slack exchange, there was internal conflict surrounding sponsoring a football team. Bankman-Fried stated that colleagues were probably getting too emotional and belligerent about the issue, noting that there had been doubts regarding the perceived return on investment of such a deal.
FTX had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on sports sponsorships before its catastrophic downfall. These ranged from the football stadium at the University of California Berkeley to the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 racing team. The Major League Baseball umpires’ patches featured its emblem, and it served as the main sponsor of the TSM esports squad.
Liverpool Deal 2023
In a presentation seen by Bloomberg, it was suggested that FTX replace BT as Liverpool’s primary partner beginning in 2023. The presentation’s arrangement included social media marketing, FTX logos on interview backdrops, jersey branding, and pitch signage.
In exchange, the paper stated, FTX will strengthen its brand recognition in significant international markets with an emphasis on positioning for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer relationships. According to the document, this would result in user recruitment, conversion, and retention. FTX met with Liverpool representatives in the Bahamas, and some of the exchange’s staff were given team shirts with their names on them.
Requests for comment from an FTX spokesperson were not immediately entertained. An FTX spokesperson also declined to comment.
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