This February saw the first-ever "Crypto Big Game" in football as crypto exchanges like Coinbase Global, Inc. (NASDAQ: COIN) made a huge splash with their attention-getting ads. Even people who knew little to nothing about crypto were talking about their favorite crypto ads featuring the likes of Matt Damon, LeBron James or Larry David. Fast forward to the end of this year, and we could see much the same media buzz at this year's Big Soccer Tournament, scheduled to start on November 21 in Qatar.
With less than six months to go, the crypto-related advertising and sponsorship deals are starting to roll in, potentially giving under-the-radar cryptos access to a huge, worldwide audience. In 2018, more than 3.57 billion people watched the Big Soccer Tournament. Simply getting in front of a fraction of these viewers could provide a huge, year-end boost headed into 2023. So which cryptos are best positioned to benefit?
Cryptocurrency trading platforms
The obvious place to start is with the cryptocurrency trading platforms that dominated advertising for the Big Game in February, and the most likely winner here will be Crypto.com. In March, Crypto.com became the exclusive cryptocurrency trading platform of this year's World Cup. The decision to sponsor the biggest event in the soccer world makes sense, given the huge amount of money Crypto.com has already spent on sponsorship opportunities in sports ranging from basketball to Formula 1.
While you can't buy shares in Crypto.com, you can buy the cryptocurrency token associated with Crypto.com, Cronos (CRO 6.77%). Cronos is the native token of the exchange, meaning that its primary utility is for users of Crypto.com.
Investors can think of CRO as a proxy for the crypto exchange: If Crypto.com is doing well and adding new users, then CRO (now the #22 crypto in the world) is going to do well also.
The next place to look for hidden gems in the crypto space is with official blockchain sponsors of Qatar 2022. The obvious pick here is Algorand (ALGO 13.23%), which became the first U.S. blockchain sponsor of the Qatar event back in March. While it is the #26 crypto in the world, ALGO has largely flown under the radar of mainstream crypto investors. Yet, ALGO is the world's first carbon-negative blockchain and the world's first pure proof-of-stake blockchain. It's green, it's fast, and it's backed by award-winning MIT professor Silvio Micali.
At the announcement of the Algorand partnership, Electronic Arts' FIFA was quick to praise the values of ALGO, especially democratization, openness and transparency. For soccer fans in the developing world, blockchain technology is all about improving access and equity. For climate-minded U.S. fans, the winning argument for ALGO could be Algorand's dedication to being the world's greenest blockchain.
Finally, it's worth looking at the world of sports NFTs. Most sports fans have probably heard of NBA Top Shot (an NFT marketplace for NBA highlight videos), given that an NBA Top Shot of LeBron James has sold for upwards of $200,000. Granted, that was during the peak of the speculative froth around NFTs, but it's safe to say that a truly legendary and rare moment -- such as a game-winning shot that brings a championship to your favorite team -- will likely retain its value over time. It's the reason a bubble gum trading card for an iconic sports star can still sell for millions of dollars in the secondary market.
Now apply this same idea to the world of soccer, and you can see why NFT marketplaces for soccer content could become so big. Currently, there's no one-stop destination for soccer NFTs as there is for basketball, but one good starting point in the future could be Binance (CRYPTO: BNB) and its new NFT Marketplace. In mid-June, Binance announced a deal with arguably the most popular soccer player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, for the launch of future soccer NFT collections. If these NFTs become must-haves for collectors, then it is easy to see how BNB, the native token of Binance, could garner a lot of attention.
Of course, there are a number of watch-outs here. First and most importantly, the recent downturn in the crypto markets has soured many investors on buying off-the-radar cryptos. Fair enough. If you've lost a lot in recent months, it might be tough to stomach any crypto ads running during Qatar 2022. The other big watch-out is all the potential geopolitical drama that might result from hosting the event in Qatar. The Middle East is always full of tension, and add in the fact that the U.S. and Iran are set to play each other this year, and, well, things could get very interesting very fast.
But the big picture is that the Big Soccer Tournament is one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world. Quite frankly, there is no other event of this type that draws the attention of the entire globe. With so many people watching and paying attention on a daily basis during the holiday season, the Big Soccer Tournament in Qatar is a prime opportunity for crypto to get back off the mat and head into 2023 with some fresh mojo.