Thursday 25 March 2021 12:47 pm

Week in Sportbiz: Is crypto the next big player in sports sponsorship? Plus Extreme E's Suez near miss and Amazon's Six Nations interest

Where US sports lead, others tend to follow, so it was with interest that industry insiders noted developments in Florida this week.

Miami Heat’s home is set to be rebranded the FTX Arena after the NBA side struck a naming rights agreement with the cryptocurrency exchange.

FTX will pay $135m for the 19-year deal, the most high-profile sports sponsorship by a cryptocurrency-related company.

So does this, as some are wondering, herald the arrival of crypto at the top table of sport’s commercial dealmakers? 

If nothing else, it is another shot in the arm for pandemic-pounded sports revenues following the NFL’s blockbusting 11-year, $113bn rights sale

Extreme E’s Suez Canal lucky escape

When the organisers of Extreme E hit upon the novel idea of using a ship to transport its cars and kit from race to race with lower emissions, they could not have seen some things coming.

Among those things is the current blockage of the Suez Canal by the huge Japanese vessel Ever Given, which has been stuck since Tuesday.

The Suez Canal is on the route for Extreme E’s ship, the RMS St Helena, to the new electric off-road series’ first ever race weekend, in Saudi Arabia next week.

Fortunately, RMS St Helena passed through the waterway just days before the blockage on its way to docking in Jeddah, a spokesperson for Extreme E told Week in Sportbiz.

Amazon to add Six Nations rights

Fresh from bagging the prized package of Thursday night NFL games, Amazon looks set for another big sports rights win.

Amazon Prime Video is expected to take live broadcast rights to some Six Nations matches from next year, edging out Sky and BT, reports The Times.

Such a move would build on the streaming service’s deal for last year’s Autumn Nations Cup. 

It would not mean all of the Six Nations going behind a paywall, however, with the BBC and ITV retaining some rights.

This year’s championship concludes on Friday, when France host Scotland in a delayed match that will decide whether Les Bleus or Wales win the title.

Hundred doors open for India

England cricket chiefs appear to have softened their stance on Indian investment in The Hundred.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is willing to offer Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises equity in Hundred teams in exchange for India’s stars playing in the new short-form competition, says the Telegraph.

Former ECB boss Colin Graves told City A.M. earlier this year that he knew Indian investors were keen to take stakes in The Hundred, which starts this summer.

Graves – now of Oakwell Sports Advisory, which advises investors and sports bodies on such deals – said: “It could happen. I think it will be great if we could do that to get Indian players playing in – it would be phenomenal.”

Snoop Dogg ruled out of Euro 2020

Just Eat this week took a larger slice of Uefa’s sponsorship assets, adding a host of properties to its existing deal for Euro 2020.

The online food ordering brand has added all men’s and women’s European club competitions and the Women’s Euros to its portfolio.

Anyone hoping for a football-themed reboot of Snoop Dogg’s advertising campaign for Just Eat is set to be disappointed, however.

Despite the rapper’s well documented willingness to don a football shirt, sources tell Week in Sportbiz that we won’t see Snoop reprise his act for this summer’s delayed men’s Euros.