Cryptocurrency and gambling sponsorships have been a large part of professional sports over the past handful of years. While these partnerships may be profitable for both the teams and the businesses, they are commonly not met without controversy.
The Australian Football League in particular has had their fair share of sponsors in the crypto and gambling industry. Let’s take a look at some of the most prevalent deals that the AFL has made with these various sponsors and how they were perceived and negotiated, if that information was made publicly available.
In early January of 2021 a deal was struck between Crypto.com and the AFL. The deal was inked to have the Crypto.com platform be the official cryptocurrency exchange and trading platform of the AFL men’s and women’s league.
The terms of the deal spanned over the next five years until 2026 where Crypto.com agreed to pay $5 million per year to the league. In addition to being named the official platform of the league, Crypto.com secured naming rights for the AFL’s ‘Score Review’ during both the regular season and the finals series.
Even with the collapse of FTX and market downfall of cryptocurrency in general, the AFL has said they stand by the partnership. So far Crypto.com has proved to be a reputable trading platform that has more than 10 million users worldwide.
There have been numerous teams in the AFL that have secured individual deals with Crypto.com that we will get into in addition to the deal with the league. Crypto.com has a near hold on the entire crypto advertising market within the AFL.
Possibly a more controversial partnership that the AFL has secured is their deal with SportsBet, an online sportsbook. Promoting sports betting, live casino or other casino games in general has been controversial for the most part and not only in the AFL.
Several AFL players have been found guilty of betting on games that they have participated in, which is an obvious breach of the league’s rules.
The AFL boss Gillon McLachlan also confirmed that the league receives a cut of the gambling turnover on their matches. This indicates that the league has an incentive for their fans to gamble and lose while betting on AFL games.
The terms of the deal were based on a five-year contract that began in 2020 and will end in at the end of 2025. It is reported that the contract could be as high as $10 million per year.
The deal has made it impossible for another sports betting company to get a deal with the league or a team until the deal ends in 2025.
AFL Team Sponsorships
Collingwood Football Club: SportsBet
In addition to being the official online sports betting platform for the AFL, SportsBet also had deals with individual teams, most popularly the Collingwood Football Club.
The terms of the deal were undisclosed, although having a sports betting company as a sponsor does raise the same ethical questions as it does with having a partnership with the league.
Adelaide Football Club: Crypto.com
Shortly after the AFL partnered with Crypto.com on a five-year deal, the Adelaide Football Club secured a deal with the company as well in early 2022. The deal was said to have the Crypto.com logo appear on the back of the home and clash guernseys.
The agreement will bring to life other engagement initiatives in addition to jersey naming rights such as playing matches in the Crypto.com arena in front of an American crowd in Los Angeles.
Fremantle Dockers: Crypto.com
In March of 2022 the Fremantle Dockers announced a Crypto.com multi-year deal of their own for both the AFL and AFL Women’s teams. This deal was another move by Crypto.com to move into the AFL after inking a deal with the league.
Gold Coast Suns: Crypto.com
A three-year deal was struck in March between the Gold Coast Suns and Crypto.com that was aimed to educate fans and the public on cryptocurrency. This was a refreshing take on a partnership with a cryptocurrency company.
The GIANTS were another team to strike a deal with Crypto.com and the deal was done around the same time in March of 2022 as with other teams in the AFL.
The partnership between Crypto.com and Richmond is focused on the club’s strong dedication to sustainability, exemplified by their Environmental Action Team and overall commitment. The club claims that they align well with Crypto.com’s objective to achieve carbon negativity by November of this year.
Western Bulldogs: CoinSpot
The Western Bulldogs are the only team in the AFL to secure a crypto sponsorship outside of Crypto.com. The deal allows for CoinSpot to put their name on the home and away guernseys.
CoinSpot was made a sponsor of the team for the 2021 season and the deal was extended following the finish of the season and has continued into 2023.