Arsenal Football Club has inked a landmark sponsorship deal with CashBet Coin in a move likely to attract criticism.
CashBet Coin (CBC) is designed specifically for iGaming and will become the default cryptocurrency on the CashBet platform. The ERC20 currency will be launched during the company’s Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Pre-sales in the ICO commenced yesterday.
CashBet, an Oakland, California-based online gaming business, already features Arsenal footballers on their website . The company claims to be the ‘only mobile-first platform for real-money, social, and skill-based interactive gaming’. The platform offers casino and sports betting features among others.
The agreement with the sporting giant will provide in-stadium advertising at Arsenal home Premier League games at Emirates Stadium. The Premier League boasts a global ‘reach’ of over 600 million homes, with a typical match watched live by up to 80 million people worldwide . Arsenal was the third highest earning club in England in the 2016-17 season , behind only Manchester United and Manchester City.
A storied club with thirteen League titles and a record thirteen FA Cups, Arsenal are said to be the most popular football team in China . They are also wildly popular in Southeast Asia, with an online merchandise store dedicated to serving the region. The store lists prices in Malaysian Ringgit, Indian Rupees, Thai Baht, Vietnamese Dong and Singaporean Dollars.
The deal with CashBet Coin is a first in the cryptocurrency world. While gambling agencies have long been prominent sponsors of sporting clubs, and while CashBet is regulated by the Gambling Commission in the UK, ICOs are unregulated. Ernst & Young only recently reported that of the $3.7 billion invested in ICOs in 2017, ten percent of it was lost or stolen.
Joining Emirates Airlines, Gatorade, Puma, and Vitality Insurance, CashBet will be hoping to benefit from the exposure its Arsenal partnership will deliver. Arsenal reportedly has 142 million worldwide fans, giving it the fifth largest football fan base in the world.
They have a Chinese version of their website and a site dedicated to North American fans. They are also growing in popularity in Asia and Africa. It remains to be seen whether CashBet’s foray into sports sponsorship will pave the way for other cryptocurrency players to do the same. It will also be interesting to see if other clubs follow suit and embrace the blockchain community.
With the controversy currently surrounding ICOs, this may be a move that will help lend legitimacy to the tainted image of initial coin offerings.
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