MLB In Talks With Legal Counsel Over FTX Partnership As Cryptocurrency Company Bankruptcy Puts Sporting Goods At Risk
MLB is speaking with its legal counsel to decide how best to proceed regarding its partnership with now-bankrupt cryptocurrency firm FTX, SportTechie sources said. Sources close to the league said MLB is concerned and is closely monitoring the situation.
Major League Baseball’s history dates back to the 19th century, but FTX was the first brand ever to have its logo featured on umpire uniform insignia, beginning with the 2021 All-Star Game in Denver and continuing through the 2022 season in. Shortly after MLB signed its reported five-year deal with FTX in June 2021, the league hosted its MLB Moon Blasts Pick ‘Em contest, presented by FTX, which offered $50,000 worth of bitcoin to be placed on the Winner’s FTX account should be funded. MLB hosted a similar prediction contest with FTX, which promoted a major crypto prize of $100,000 last season.
Not until November 5th MLB Twitter account shared a World Series home run highlight video presented by FTX. The Miami Heat has canceled its stadium naming rights deal with FTX, while both the Golden State Warriors and Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team have suspended their promotion of the crypto brand. Should MLB eventually decide to end its relationship with FTX, the last time the brand’s logo was seen on an MLB field was during Game 6 of the World Series at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Ironically, Astros’ ballpark was previously called Enron Field from 2000 to 2002 before the energy company filed for bankruptcy amid its notorious accounting fraud and corruption scandal. “Enron was once the Derek Jeter of American corporations — young, dynamic, promising,” wrote Edward Wong of The New York Times in 2002, after Astros prematurely ended its 30-year, $100 million deal with Enron.
This scandal was at the end of Web1 and the beginnings of Web2 in the early 2000s. FTX’s demise comes after collapsing earlier this year from fellow crypto brands Voyager and Terra, which spent last MLB season promoting their worthless cryptocurrency as part of the Terra Club at Nationals Park in Washington DC.
The hopeful takeover of Web3 by the sports industry must now contend with FTX’s presence, which encompasses several of the company’s most popular buzzwords. An Instagram post by FTX in June singled out The Sandbox, Decentraland, and Axie Infinity as the “3 most popular crypto-powered metaverses.” FTX has also created NFT collections for partner teams such as the Heat, Warriors, Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals.