Crypto exchange FTX, the naming sponsor of North American esports organization TSM, is now worth a valuation of $18 billion following a round of investment that totaled an eye-watering $900 million.
The cryptocurrency company made headlines with their first-ever move in the esports industry when they entered a sponsorship deal with Forbes-dubbed most valuable esports organization, TSM.
The sponsorship is worth $210 million and spans 10 years, with FTX acquiring their naming rights and rebranding the organization to TSM FTX for the duration of the agreement. It’s believed to be the biggest team sponsorship ever seen in the esports industry.
The terms of the deal changed quickly after it was announced, however, when Riot Games blocked TSM by going as ‘TSM FTX’ in both League of Legends and Valorant. This was due to regulations surrounding the types of companies and products that organizations competing in those titles can advertise.
Just two months later, and following a business deal with celebrity couple Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, the crypto exchange has raised $900m in an effort to grow their brand through acquisitions.
Crypto and esports have been converging in recent years, especially following the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). While there have been scandals involving the likes of FaZe Clan, plenty of esports orgs have been embracing fan engagement initiatives and making money in the process.
Well-known names such as CS:GO event series Flashpoint, and orgs including 100 Thieves and Ninjas in Pyjamas, have all sold NFTs in the past few months. OG Esports has made almost $1m in just three NFT drops — here’s a breakdown as to exactly how they achieved this.
— FTX US (@ftx_us) July 20, 2021
“It gives us a strong foothold to really grow our brand globally,” said TSM CEO Andy ‘Reginald’ Dinh at the time of announcing the FTX sponsorship.
“We want to truly be a global esports team. We have to invest in having bases in multiple places.”