Manchester City Announces Multimillion-Dollar Deal With Crypto Exchange OKX

Manchester City is bulking up on the crypto craze.

On Friday, the reigning Premier League champions announced a multi-year agreement naming OKX it’s official cryptocurrency exchange partner. The deal, which is OKX’s first foray into the sports world, will cover Manchester City’s men’s and women’s teams as well as its esports operations. It will include a presence inside of both Manchester City venues, the 55,000-seat Etihad Stadium and the 7,000-person capacity Academy Stadium, as well as collaboration on future projects.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but a source tells Forbes that the deal with the club, the world’s sixth-most valuable soccer team at $4 billion, is in the multimillion-dollar range annually. It’s the latest in a string of crypto endorsements that have poured money into sports as the industry seeks to establish a presence with mainstream audiences.

Last year, FTX agreed to a 19-year, $135 million deal for the naming rights to the Miami Heat’s arena, while Crypto.com spent more than $700 million to replace the Staples Center moniker for the next 20 years, as well as an eight -figure arrangement for the Philadelphia 76ers’ jersey patch. Both have also collected a laundry list of top athlete endorsers with retired NFL quarterback Tom Brady, Golden State Warriors star point guard Steph Curry and Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani under the FTX flag, and Crypto.com sponsoring LeBron James. A recent Nielsen report anticipates crypto spending in sports will reach $5 billion by 2026.

OKX is the second-largest crypto exchange by spot trading transaction volume, with more than $20 billion changing hands in the past 24 hours, according to CoinGecko.com. It was founded in 2017 by Star Xu, the embattled crypto entrepreneur who publicly declared his innocence in 2020 after a reported investigation into an equity merger related to his blockchain company OK Group. Called OKEx until this year, OKX is based in the Republic of Seychelles and operates in more than 100 countries. In January, the company said total trading on its platform grew 700% during 2021.

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