Crypto Corner: the sports slice

Sport is not immune from contagion. FTX is another stark reminder, as the fallout continues last week, this time an endorsement deal for a powerful football club and Amber Group. Meanwhile, other athlete-led NFT projects continue to unfold, and there is another non-traditional sports sponsorship deal coming to market.

Let’s dive into the top news about sports and cryptocurrencies over the past week.

The sports slice

The Orange Comet is partnered with former NBA star Scottie Pippen

Six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen is the latest ex-pro to launch an NFT collection. In a chirp announcement shared by Pippen last week, has launched a new partnership with NFT platform Orange Comet and its first “NFT sneaker collection”.

The two will launch their first collaborative launch, dubbed the “SP33 Collection,” on December 20. 33 randomly selected recipients of a personalized sneaker will be included in the NFT, while individual winners can be rewarded with a hometown tour and dinner with Pippen or a round of golf with him.

In this initial release, 1,000 NFTs will be made available. In the announcement press release shared with Bitcoinist, Pippen said:

“I am deeply committed to staying connected to audiences around the world and the metaverse is making that possible by allowing for unique, out-of-the-box moments that bring people into my world on a personal level. This is such an interesting time for culture and it has been an eye-opening journey learning about web3, and then working with the Orange Comet creative team to launch this special and personal collection that speaks to the future of fan engagement and of sneaker culture”.

Ethereum (ETH) continues to be the NFT leader and top 'chain of choice.' | Source: ETH-USD on

New York Racing Association chooses Game Of Silks as latest partner

We’re no strangers to non-traditional cryptocurrency-related partnerships, and we don’t shy away from sports that don’t fit into the “big 4” here.

Last week’s latest came courtesy of the New York Racing Association (NYRA), who announced a new “Official Blockchain Game and Metaverse Partner” earlier in the week with Game of Silks.

Game of Silks is an Ethereum-based thoroughbred horse racing NFT game and uses real-life data. It’s an especially unique partnership with a major player in the space: The New York Racing Association is a 65-year-old non-profit organization that operates the three largest thoroughbred horse racing circuits in upstate New York.

A press release shared with Bitcoinist detailed that NYRA will be using two digital properties, America Day at Stingray And Saratoga Live”to provide Silks owners with the latest news, data and information about the Silks metaverse. The shows are significant in the horse racing world and both are broadcast on FOX Sports.

Dave O’Rourke, NYRA President and CEO, said the game “presents its players with a fascinating and fun challenge by gamifying racehorse ownership in a whole new way,” according to a statement included in the press release.

Amid FTX contagion, Amber Group’s deal with Chelsea FC falls apart

The FTX contagion has spread like wildfire. Early in FTX’s demise, it was the most obvious domino to fall in the sports industry: direct sponsorship deals. Miami’s FTX Arena signage, branding and usage of esports organization TSM, and athlete endorsement deals with superstars like Steph Curry and Tom Brady quickly disintegrated.

Contagion follows, and was featured this week courtesy of Amber Group: The venture capital firm has cut its roughly $25 million deal with European soccer club Chelsea FC. For Chelsea, the deal can – and likely will – be replaced relatively quickly. For Amber Group, however, the concerns extend to matters far more impactful than a short-term sports partnership.

The firm is said to be addressing significant concerns about exposure to FTX, although to what extent and how is not yet clear. The company also reportedly shut down its retail operations and laid off about 40% of staff in the past week.

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