Although Cryptocurrencies have crashed from its stunning highs, but the industry is alive and kicking with sports partnerships are still growing. No sign of any let up thus far, and it’s easy to understand why.
Canadian speed skater Ted-Jan Bloemen is the latest athlete figure to take advantage of this frenzy, announcing a partnership with ONG Social and CEEK VR ahead of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) of its new tokens, ONG and CEEK, designed specifically for social media and VR experience.
CEEK VR is a producer of virtual reality experiences, which is set to issue its token publicly in mid-February while ONG Social is a decentralized social network and crypto-community, already has a coin on the market.
The deal, the value of which was undisclosed, is the first time an Olympic athlete has officially partnered with a cryptocurrency firm. It comes as an increasing number of regulators express concern about the dangers of consumers risking their savings in digital fundraising.
Interestingly, some of Bloemen’s compensation will include cryptocurrency, where he would be able to cash out following this month’s ICO, making him the first athlete sponsored with virtual coins. He will provide content for Ceek and ONG during the Olympics in exchange for cryptocurrency, CEEK VR said in a press statement.
By signing the partnership, the crypto startups target new clientele that are mainly fans of athletics and marathons sports. Given the popularity of the track star, the firms aim to achieve better exposure within North America, where Bloemen has a much higher profile than any other region.
Dutch-born Bloemen holds the world’s fastest time in the 10,000 at 12:36.30, which he set in 2015. The 31-year-old long track skater also set a world record in the 5,000 in a time of six minutes 1.86 seconds to erase the decade-old mark of 6:03.32 by Sven Kramer of the Netherlands.
Bloemen was selected to Canada’s 2018 Olympic team in the 5,000 metre, 10,000 metre, and Team Pursuit events in Korea.
A few concerns as well
Indeed, there are also some concerns with this kind of mass market advertising that are rarely if ever discussed, being glossed over in triumphant press releases and media reports. For instance, when it comes to deciding to invest in cryptocurrency, or anything else, celebrities might not be the best sources of information.
The U.S. securities regulator has already warned celebrities that they may be violating the law if they make paid endorsements of cryptocurrencies without disclosing the payments.
The fact that online betting companies like Bwin or Betfair also use sports sponsorships to build their brands adds to the confusion of the public. The third problem, and perhaps the most important, is the fact that ICOs get to be portrayed in a false and misleading way.
Commenting on the partnership, Lawrence Baslaw, Bloemen’s agent said: “I believe this cryptocurrency sponsorship is a first for any athlete. This is really a whole new frontier. It will be exciting to see how cryptocurrency can work for Ted-Jan, in particular, but also the impact it will have on the sport marketing industry as a whole.”
Christopher J. Kramer, CEO of ONG, added:”OneName Global (ONG) is honored to partner with speed skating world record holder, Ted-Jan Bloemen. He is a classic example that, with hard work and determination, you can achieve your dreams. ONG is pleased to be able to highlight Ted-Jan’s athletic journey on social media and award a dedicated athlete with a new form of digital gold through the ONG cryptocurrency sponsorship.”