The Washington Capitals are hosting a concert series at the 9:30 Club in DC’s U Street Corridor. In 10 days, the 90’s cover band White Ford Bronco will take to the stage and play all the flannel-laden hits of your youth if you’re of a certain age. But notice the sponsorship of that show??
Ooh, yeah. About that, Mr. Ted Leonsis...
It appears FTX now stands for F*&#:!% Took X Billion Dollars as the company has filed for Chapter 11. But the cryptocurrency exchange, when it wasn’t gambling its customer deposits on risky investments, was also a sponsor of tons of other sports properties. Those included:
- The shirts of every MLB umpire
- The Miami Heat’s arena (a $135 million deal)
- An exclusive NFT deal with the NBA champion Golden State Warriors
- A Formula 1 team (this link no longer works)
That’s some of the most high-visibility branding real estate anyone can purchase. And now it’s all likely to go unpaid and the sales team will need to get back to work.
This has happened before. Tons of teams lost deals during the Dot Com Bubble of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, while Ken Lay and Enron ended up missing the margin call on the Houston Astros’ Enron Park. It’s now known as Minute Maid Park, or The Juice Box to those locally, and they’ve won two World Series there so maybe it’s worked out for the best.
But continuing to give ad space to a company that seems very unlikely to pay you is, well, generous at best and a losing proposition at worst. We’ll see what happens as the $30+ billion behemoth comes crashing back to earth.
But it’s probably a safe bet MLB’s umpires are wearing new shirts when guarding against the infield shift in 2023.