Crypto exchange OKX pays $20M to upgrade Man City’s sponsorship

abdelaziz Fathi

Soccer giant Manchester City has expanded its curious partnership deal with OKX, formerly known as OKEx. The Seychelles-based cryptocurrency exchange has become the club’s official training kit partner for the 2022-23 season.

Financial terms of the expanded deal were not shared. However, industry sources told Forbes that the crypto sponsorship will net the world’s sixth-most-valuable soccer team more than $20 million this season.

OKX was named by City as the “Club’s Official Cryptocurrency Exchange Partner” in March as part of a commercial expansion by the Premier League champions. The deal marked OKX’s first venture into the world of sport and entertainment.

As part of its sponsorship package, the crypto venue will gain visibility through a range of marketing channels. This will span Manchester City men and women teams, in addition to the club’s esports operations. On top of that, OKX will access to matchday media backdrops, tickets, digital rights and players’ activities.

The new deal will also see select Manchester City players star in crypto education content produced by OKX.

OKX, which claimed over $1.3 billion of crypto trading volumes in the last 24 hours, will also benefit from in-stadium presence across the Etihad Stadium and Academy Stadium.

City pulled back from the mysterious deal

The new deal comes a few months after Manchester City suspended their partnership with a mysterious cryptocurrency startup called 3Key Technologies. In the wake of media reports, the English football club halted the sponsorship agreement, which was announced but not activated in respect of any specific products or services, due to 3Key’s lack of online presence.

While 3Key claims it has been in the business of facilitating cryptocurrency and NFTs trading since 2020, there was no mention of staff members or of products available to the public.

Roel De Vries, Chief Operating Officer, City Football Group, said: “We have worked together to ‘supercharge the fan experience’ through a number of exciting content activations ahead of high profile fixtures during the culmination of the 2021/22 season and we look forward to continuing to develop these opportunities over the coming year.”

OKX’s parent, OKCoin, was one of the three major crypto exchanges in China before the authorities’ crackdown on the virtual asset industry, including a ban on ICOs in September 2017. Fleeing the hostile business environment, the exchange, along with its peers, has since shifted its operations overseas. OKX, which works as a separate entity from OK Group and OKCoin, is headquartered in Hong Kong while being officially based in Malta, and its CEO is Jay Hao.

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