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Esports team TSM suspends $210M sponsorship deal with FTX

TSM confirmed that it remains “strong, profitable and stable” despite its decision to suspend the sponsorship with FTX.

Professional esports organization Team SoloMid (TSM) (previously TSM FTX) has suspended its $210 million sponsorship deal with the now-bankrupt FTX crypto exchange “effective immediately” following the cryptocurrency trading platform’s shock collapse last week.

The United-States-based esports organization made the announcement in a Nov. 16 tweet to its 2.2 million followers, adding that the decision was made after “monitoring the evolving situation and discussing internally.”

The $210 million deal was put to paper in Jun. 2021, which resulted in the renaming of TSM to TSM FTX. At the time of the deal, the esports organization said it would allocate its new resources to all corners of the globe by opening offices in Asia, Europe and South America, according to Esports insider.

TSM also purchased $1 million worth of FTX’s native token, FTT, which was distributed to players and employees. 

Following FTX's collapse last week, TSM in a Nov. 13 tweet said the firm was discussing its legal counsel “to decide the best next steps to protect our team, staff, fans and players.”

In its most recent announcement, TSM said its partnership suspension with FTX means that FTX branding would be scraped off TSM’s official name, team and player social media profiles and jerseys, stating:

“This means that FTX branding will no longer appear on any of our org, team and player social media profiles, and will also be removed from our player jerseys.”

TSM also took the opportunity to confirm with its stakeholders that its balance sheet remains intact and would be so for the foreseeable future without FTX’s support:

“TSM is a strong, profitable and stable organization. We forecast profitability this year, next year and beyond. The current situation with FTX does not affect any part of TSM’s operating plan, which was set earlier this year.”

TSM is most well known for its participation in League of Legends, one of the largest multiplayer online battle arena video games that is played competitively. TSM also fields players in the online games Dota 2, Apex Legends and Valorant.

TSM isn’t the only company to have struck off a massive sponsorship agreement with FTX following its collapse.

The NBA’s Miami Heat took things one step further than TSM in announcing to terminate its business relationship with FTX in a Nov. 12 Twitter post:

The Miami Heat added that they’re looking to find a new naming rights partner for the arena, which was officially renamed to FTX Arena in Mar. 2021 following a 19 year sponsorship agreement worth $135 million.

Related: FTX collapse: The crypto industry’s Lehman Brothers moment

The Mercedes Formula 1 team was another sports team to suspend its sponsorship with Sam Bankman-Fried’s fallen empire, which was announced shortly after FTX filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 14.

Grand Prix 247 reported that in a recent video call, the CEO of Mercedes’ Formula 1 team Toto Wolff stated that while he still believes in the long-term prospects of blockchain and cryptocurrency, FTX’s collapse provided a textbook example of the many vulnerabilities still present in the industry:

“This situation is very unfortunate. We considered FTX because they were one of the most credible and solid, financially sound partners that were out there.”

“Out of nowhere we can see that a crypto company can basically be on its knees and gone one week. That shows how vulnerable the sector still is,” the executive added.

But not every sports organization with a business affiliation to FTX has pulled the pin yet.

The Major League Baseball (MLB) is currently in discussing with its legal counsel about what the best course of action is, according to SportTechie.

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From a $32 Billion Valuation to Financial Troubles: An In-Depth Look at the Rise and Fall of FTX

From a  Billion Valuation to Financial Troubles: An In-Depth Look at the Rise and Fall of FTXDuring the last two days, the cryptocurrency community has been dealing with the FTX fiasco after Binance revealed that it was backing out of the deal to acquire the rival exchange. Between Nov. 8-9, the crypto economy shed more than $230 billion in value as FTX’s troubles shook investors. The following is an in-depth look […]

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Steph Curry files trademark for the ‘Curryverse’ where players earn NFTs

NBA superstar Steph Curry filed a trademark application for the “Curryverse" metaverse on Oct. 26.

National Basketball League (NBA) megastar Steph Curry looks set to introduce his own version of the Metaverse to NBA’s 650 million fans — filing a “Curryverse” trademark application on Oct. 26. 

If approved, the United States-based trademark application, filed by SC30 Inc. will grant the four-time NBA champion exclusive rights for “entertainment services, namely, personal and virtual and metaversal appearances.”

According to the filing, the “Curryverse” will also provide “online gaming services in the nature of virtual worlds,” where players will be able to earn both fungible and nonfungible tokens (NFTs), which will be able to be bought or sold at an “online marketplace.”

The application also covers virtual clothing and goods, business management and investment services, charitable fundraising services, and software as a service (Saas) featuring software platforms for designing, promoting, selling, and exchanging NFTs, among others. 

While more specific details of the Curryverse haven’t been announced, the NBA star’s metaverse will likely garner a lot of attention given his 47 million fan base on Instagram and 17.1 million followers on Twitter.

While the Metaverse-related trademark appears to be a first for Curry, it definitely isn’t his first move into Web3.

In August 2021, Curry first became a part of the NFT community following a $206,000 Bored Ape Yacht Club purchase.

The Golden State Warriors player’s liking for golf also led him to invest in LinksDAO — a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that aimed to build the “world’s greatest golf community.”

The NBA superstar has also featured in an FTX advertisement in March as part of his ambassador role with the popular crypto exchange.

NBA’s Miami Heat gets Web3 sponsor

Meanwhile, just eight days after landing a multi-year partnership with National Football League (NFL) team New England Patriots, blockchain infrastructure firm Chain has just become the official “Web3/Blockchain infrastructure partner” of the Miami Heat.

Chain stated in its Nov. 1 press release that its partnership will aim to “bridge the gap between the sports industry and Web3 technology” by providing a suite of products and services that “address the complexities of overall blockchain management.”

Related: Aussie media company goes all in on NBA fan engagement with NFTs

The partnership will also see Chain’s logo be imprinted on the Miami Heat player’s pre-game shooting shirt, with the blockchain solutions company also set to prominently feature on the NBA team’s social media platforms.

In Mar. 2021, FTX entered a $135 million partnership with the Florida-based team to secure naming rights to the Miami Heat’s 21,000 seat stadium until 2040 — which is now officially called FTX Arena.

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FTX set to secure naming rights to Miami NBA stadium until 2040

Cryptocurrency exchange FTX is on the brink of securing naming rights to Miami Heat’s stadium until 2040.

FTX has reached an agreement with Miami-Dade County on a 19-year partnership worth $135 million, to name Miami Heat’s home stadium the FTX Arena.

The cryptocurrency derivatives exchange backed by Alameda Research, is set to become the first member of the crypto industry to secure NBA naming rights, pending approval from the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners on March 26.

The deal marks a significant mainstream partnership for a crypto-based platform, which will see FTX tied to the Miami Heat until 2040. As part of the Miami-Dade County’s press release on March 23, FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried noted:

“This opportunity is more than putting our name on an iconic building. It is a chance to provide value to the growing and diverse community in Miami and its surrounding cities, as well as join a championship community, a championship organization, and a championship culture.”

According to the Miami Herald Miami-Dade County will see $90 million from the deal once expenses and payments to the Miami Heat are deducted, with the funds being divided among the 13 county commissioners and directed toward combating gun violence and poverty.

Legislation allocates “20% of the revenue to each district equally for payments to programs and organizations that either combat gun violence or promote economic prosperity,” with the remaining 80% “distributed based on each district’s share of the county’s “shooting homicides and shooting incidents.”

If the deal is approved, it marks another significant partnership secured by FTX, as the crypto-exchange has been actively expanding its market reach since its launch in 2019.

In August 2020, the crypto exchange acquired Blockfolio for $150 million, a digital asset portfolio tracker with a strong user base of 6 million. Twitter user “Litocoen.eth” summed up the feelings of many by stating the deal was the “smartest acquisition in crypto imo.”

The exchange has listed a variety of tokenized mainstream stocks to attract a broader market. In December, they listed five stocks related to cannabis companies, along with offering traders exposure to Airbnb and pre-IPO derivatives contracts.

Following the reported controversy surrounding retail investors from r/Wallstreetbets and trading platform Robinhood, the exchange-listed a r/Wallstreetbets index of several assets such Doge, AMC Entertainment (AMC), and GameStop (GME).

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