March 6, 2024

Huge chance or own goal? An analysis of every Web3 sponsorship deal in the Premier League and F1 in 2023/2024.

Web3 firms are continuing to pour eye-watering sums into sponsoring high-profile sports teams like Manchester City, Chelsea and Red Bull Racing. In this data blog, we take a look at all the Web3 sponsorship deals in place in the Premier League and F1 for the 2023/2024 season.

For most of the lives of millennial sports fans, consumer electronics, cigarette and beer brands have been a part of the teams they love. Arsenal fans fondly remember the iconic JVC jerseys of the early 90s, when Denis Bergkamp was in his pomp. Petrolheads recall Michael Schumacher celebrating his first title for Ferrari on the podium in 2000 with Marlboro splashed across his chest. And who could forget Liverpool’s epic Champions League comeback in Istanbul against AC Milan in 2005, wearing their Carlsberg-sponsored kit? The logic might not have been obvious, but when it came to sponsorships, sports were all about cigarettes, booze and electronics. 

But now times are changing: In the last decade, many Web3 firms have sought to boost their public profile through sports sponsorships too. We have been quite critical of this approach, arguing that it primarily builds name recognition, not a coherent brand, and that the broad, untargeted nature of sports sponsorships rarely represents value for money. But given the huge growth of Web3 sports deals in recent years, we thought it would be a good time to take a closer look at what is going on with a focus on the English Premier League and F1 motor racing. What percentage of teams now have Web3 partners, what sectors of the market are most often involved in these types of deals, what do they cost, and what is the strategy? This is what we’ll be exploring in this blog.   

The strategy: Why are Web3 firms sponsoring big sports teams? 

By partnering with large sports organisations, Web3 firms are aiming to “feed the top of the marketing funnel”. In short, they are hoping to gain so much name recognition that they don’t need to bid and pay for clicks as often. Instead, they hope that customers will search for their name, reducing their SEM and digital advertising costs. This race will not have many winners: there can only be a handful of “household names” in crypto.

Sports teams have obvious attractions for marketeers: people love them. Sports sponsorships allow these companies to associate their brand with athletes, performance, coolness, and innovation. It’s a form of brand building that has been used by companies from various sectors over the years. Before crypto, teams were often sponsored by tobacco, telecommunications, mobile phone providers, beer brands, and airlines. In nascent, emerging markets, some companies are happy to gamble on burning a lot of cash in the short term to gain market share and clients before the competition catches up. In the longer run, these sponsorship deals tend to wane as the market reaches maturity and the winners of the war become apparent. This may explain why you don’t see as many mobile phone operators on football shirts anymore, whereas in the early 2000s, they were ubiquitous.

A few key questions arise about this top-down approach to Web3 brand building: Is crypto really a mass market product? What are the demographics of Web3 users compared to that of sports fans? Does the real crossover entail the fact that a lot of people who are into sports are into sports betting? These are questions that firms in the space will need to consider before splashing out on sports sponsorships.

Premier League clubs with Web3 sponsorships in 2023/2024

An analysis of the current Premier League shows that 14 of the 20 teams have at least one Web3-related sponsor. This is down from 17 clubs that had deals in place during the previous season. However, it is notable that Web3 sponsorship deals have been done with all of the biggest teams in the league, with nine out of last year’s top ten being represented, the only exception being Brighton and Hove Albion.

It is noteworthy that some Premier League teams have more than one Web3 sponsor, but typically only have one sponsor in each Web3 subcategory. For instance, last year’s champions Manchester City have an exchange partnership with OKX, a fan token deal with Socios, and a gaming collaboration with Animoca Brands. Of the 14 Premier League clubs with official Web3 sponsors, seven of them have only one Web3 sponsor, five have two Web3 sponsors, and two have three Web3 sponsors.  

Exchanges: In terms of Web3 categories, cryptocurrency exchanges crop up most often as sponsors, with eight separate Premier League teams having an official crypto trading partner. This includes OKX’s multi-year, £55 million ($70m) sleeve deal with Manchester City, and Chelsea’s sleeve sponsorship with BingX. Etoro feature heavily in this category too, having inked partnership agreements with four separate clubs: Arsenal, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Everton. One thing to note here is that exchanges that have had significant presences in other markets — like Binance, and Coinbase — currently have no Premier League sponsorships in place. 

Fan Tokens: After exchanges, the second most prominent category is fan tokens. This market is currently dominated by one company, Socios, which has deals in place with six clubs: Manchester City, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace and Everton. Fan tokens give holders the right to redeem rewards and to vote on various, relatively minor aspects of the club such as stadium music, the shirt number of a new signing, and choosing the “moment of the season”. The tokens can also be sold on a secondary market. 

The concept has drawn criticism from fan groups and the UK government for exposing fans to the risk of financial harm. Some clubs, such as Liverpool, have publicly announced that it will never release a fan token, stating that “we don't believe in the premise of having to buy into being a fan”. Premier league fans who were hoping to make money with fan tokens are likely to have been disappointed. Of the six teams currently playing in the division that have done deals with Socios, token values have declined by an average of 49.5% since launch at time of writing according to CoinMarketCap figures.

For its part, Socios argues that people who focus on token values are missing the point. They emphasise that fan tokens are not intended to be a speculative investment and that their primary purpose is to enhance fan engagement by providing unique interactions and experiences with clubs. 

Gaming/trading cards

While Liverpool distanced itself from the concept of fan tokens, it has penned a Web3 deal with the fantasy football game Sorare, in which players can build teams by collecting NFTs that represent players and compete to get the most points. As part of the agreement, participants can win exclusive prizes like visits to the Anfield stadium, merchandise and video content. The deal allows fans to purchase player NFTs to build a team and compete in a fantasy football league. In 2023, Sorare also signed a four-year deal reported to be worth £30 million ($37m) per season with the Premier League.

In a similar vein, Manchester City concluded an agreement with Web3 gaming company Animoca Brands which will allow the firm to feature City players and the club logo in mini-games and NFT collections. Finally, Tottenham Hotspur rounds out the three sponsorships in this category with its deal with FanBlock, which has become the London club’s official “MetaField Partner”. FanBlock provides a twist on the concept of fantasy football, allowing participants to own segments of a virtual pitch rather than players and earn points and prizes when events like goals or assists occur in that space.  


As traditional gambling already has a very strong foothold in the football industry, it is perhaps unsurprising that crypto gambling firms also have a presence in the form of three separate partnerships with Aston Villa (Duelbits), Newcastle United ( and Everton ( From the perspective of the punter, these sites look very similar to traditional online bookmakers and casinos, but use cryptocurrency as the primary payment method. The most high-profile of these deals is Everton’s partnership with, a multi-year deal reportedly worth £10 million per year ($12.55m) which sees the crypto betting firm become the Merseyside club’s primary shirt sponsor. 


Compared to exchanges and tokens, blockchains and blockchain projects are less represented, with only two deals in place. However, Tezos’s partnership with Manchester United to become its official blockchain and training kit sponsor is likely one of the most costly Web3 deals in the league, reportedly costing £20 million per year. The other sponsorship in this category is the Cardano-based mobile phone network World Mobile, which has partnered with Fulham FC.


The final subcategory of Premier League Web3 sponsors features only one firm: the multi-currency wallet and cryptocurrency payment provider Rapidz, which has penned an agreement with relegation strugglers Burnley FC.

F1 teams with Web3 sponsorships in 2024

Looking at partnerships for the upcoming F1 season, five of the ten teams currently have sponsorship deals with Web3 companies in place. In 2022, all F1 teams had at least one Web3 sponsor, but that number had reduced to 60% by the beginning of the 2023 season. This is likely to be related to the fallout from the collapse of FTX, which had been a sponsor of Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team, whose principal driver Lewis Hamilton is one of the biggest stars in the sport. 

However, the controversy did not stop one of the other largest teams in the championship, Red Bull Racing, from signing an outlandish sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency exchange Bybit, which is reportedly worth $150 million over three years. Far from hiding the financial terms of the contract, as is often the case with this type of deal, the participants seem to be proud of the largesse on display. On announcing the agreement last year, Red Bull Racing boasted that it represents the “the single largest per-annum cryptocurrency venture yet seen in international sport”. 

Some Web3 sponsors are not content just to appear on the car; they want to rename the whole team. The Swiss F1 team Sauber Racing, which had been referred to as Alfa Romeo F1 until recently, has now been renamed to “Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber” for the 2024 season. The name is the result of a two-year title sponsorship deal with which is reported to be worth $100 million. It may not be pretty, but that is a lot of visibility. 


Web3 firms are attempting to leverage sports sponsorships to build their brand and gain market share. This approach, while not new, is particularly relevant in the rapidly evolving crypto space. The goal is to become a “household name” in crypto, reducing the need for targeted digital advertising. As the crypto market matures, it will be interesting to see how these dynamics unfold and which companies will emerge as the winners of the high-stakes race for dominance. However, the strategy raises important questions about how efficient it is to spend marketing dollars reaching mass audiences, the majority of whom do not understand the basics of Web3. 

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