Ukraine’s WhiteBIT crypto exchange could become the first firm in the blockchain technology space to have its name featured on an FC Barcelona shirt – with a sleeve sponsorship deal reportedly on the verge of completion.
As reported, Barcelona reportedly shunned an approach from the major crypto exchanges FTX and Binance, who had both hoped to become the club’s main sponsor ahead of the new (2022-2023) season. The club reportedly cited regulatory concerns as its reasons for turning down the moves.
While Binance has become the main sponsor of Italy’s Napoli, no crypto-related firm has managed to make the leap to become a shirt sponsor of an A-listing European footballing giant like Barcelona. A shirt sponsorship offer from a major crypto exchange is known to still be on the table at Liverpool FC, of the English Premier League. Liverpool’s biggest rivals, Manchester United, have a partnership deal with tezos (XTZ).
Like the WhiteBIT-Barcelona deal, however, the Tezos agreement is a smaller deal (worth some USD 24.3m) and sees the Red Devils train in Tezos-branded attire.
The WhiteBIT deal, Mundo Deportivo reported, could be finalized as early as this week, per the newspaper’s undisclosed sources at the club.
The club’s matchday jersey has a left-sleeve sponsor. This space was previously occupied by the electronic goods provider Beko, but a new deal cut between the latter and the Catalan club in 2021 excluded shirt sponsorship rights.
As such, the empty spot has become the subject of “intense” “commercial activity.” But the Ukrainian exchange, which also made headlines recently when it bought the trophy won – and then auctioned off – by the Ukrainian pop act that triumphed at the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest, has made Barça “a great offer in recent days.” That same offer has now, Mundo Deportivo continued, “obtained the green light” from the club’s branding department.
“Negotiations at the highest level” will reportedly follow, but the parties are reportedly “close to an agreement” that could be “finalized” before the week is out.
The report added that the club had already turned down an approach from the operators of the polkadot (DOT) protocol due to a “lack of international regulation.” A rival proposal from a football news service named OneFootball could prove a late stumbling block for WhiteBIT, and Turkish Airlines also reportedly made an offer – although the latter has already “taken a back seat” in the negotiations.
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