Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo has signed a sponsorship deal with US cryptocurrency exchange Binance.
In doing so, the 37-year-old becomes the latest high-profile athlete to engage in a profitable partnership with a digital asset company, despite mounting criticism in the industry.
Under the terms of the deal, the Portuguese national team captain will launch a global campaign aimed at providing his fans with an introduction to Web3 technology and providing an entry point into the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Ronaldo will create a series of collections for sale exclusively on the Binance NFT platform. The first collection will be released later this year and will feature designs created in collaboration with the player.
Football, and the Premier League in particular, has started to enter the cryptocurrency space in the past year, despite controversies over the promotion of cryptocurrencies among young and impressionable football fans.
A number of current and former high profile players, including Paul Pogba, Neymar and Mbappe, have signed rival sponsorship deals in the past. In March 2022, Ronaldo’s great rival Lionel Messi became a global brand ambassador for crypto fan token company Socios.
Likewise, many clubs have agreed on deals with blockchain companies in the past 12 months. These include Arsenal, Everton and Ronaldo’s current team Manchester United, which struck a deal with blockchain group Tezo in February 2022.
The announcement of Ronaldo’s deal with Binance comes at a time when the price of Bitcoin has dropped more than 70% from last fall’s peak, triggering a crisis for some of the largest traders and lenders in the digital asset industry. raising further questions about crypto advertising in sports.
After agreeing on the new deal with Binance, five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo said: “My relationship with fans is very important to me, so the idea of bringing unprecedented experiences and access through this NFT platform is something I wanted to be a part of. I know fans will enjoy the collection as much as I do.
Binance founder and CEO Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao added, “Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best footballers in the world and has transcended sport to become an icon in multiple sectors.
“He has amassed one of the most devoted fan bases in the world through his authenticity, talent and charitable work.
“We are thrilled to offer his fans exclusive engagement opportunities to connect with Ronaldo and own a piece of iconic sporting history.”