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Home Run Derby X (London) – FTX and MLB

Crypto brand FTC teamed up with Major League Baseball (MLB) as the title partner of the league’s touring 2022 ‘FTX MLB Home Run Derby X’ event which began with a blockbuster event in London on July 9 to build brand awareness, drive engagement and tract new customers both in the USA and overseas.

Country: UK

Agencies: Imagination, Cake & Team Whistle

Objective

The Bahamian cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which is incorporated in Antigua and Barbuda, averages $10bn of daily trading volume and boasts more than one million users. It has partnered with several sports events and property owners to build awareness of its brand and engage with young adult crypto traders around the world.

FTX’s marketing team has placed sports sponsorship at the heart of its marketing mix as it seeks to stand out among 300 other crypto exchange platforms and to build its brand in the USA and across several key international markets including the UK and South Korea.

The company’s official sports tie-ups include alliances with Mercedes AMG Petronas F1, the NBA’s Miami Heat and Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals, plus an international rights deal with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and a name-image-likeness deal with the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team. Plus it also has a strong team of individual sports ambassadors including Tom Brady, Steph Curry and Boston Red Sox legend and recent Baseball Hall of Fame inductee David Ortiz.

In 2021, FTX became the official crypto exchange of MLB. As a result of the partnership, an FTX brand patch is seen on every MLB umpire uniform and it became the title sponsor of the ‘FTX MLB Home Run Derby’ International Tour. In summer 2022, it teamed up with a group of event, sports and PR agencies to activate around its title sponsorship of the ‘FTX MLB Home Run Derby’ International Tour.

Activation

The global touring event was put together by the league, the sponsor and a team of agencies including experience design company Imagination, sports agency Cake (owned by Havas) and Team Whistle.

The inaugural ‘FTX MLB Home Run Derby X’ event was held in London’s Crystal Palace Park and was a ‘baseball-meets-festival’ event targeting existing fans and a new generation of supporters.

The event and the FTX strands were hosted by former BBC Sport and current Sky Sports presenter and journalist Emma Saunders and sports presenter and content creator Josh Denzel (who has worked with BBC, Amazon, NFL, NBA and Sky Sports). The core phase was built around a fresh format which saw four teams – each consisting of an MLB legend, a star, a rookie and wild card and representing famous MLB franchises Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees – compete in a series of batting based games with huge home runs and epic catches. It culminated with the Yankees beating the Red Sox 42-40 in the final.

The event also included a set of interactive baseball-inspired activities, classic ballpark food, a live performance by AJ Tracey, sets by Reprezent Radio DJs, Bisola and DJ GBE and MLB merchandise purchasing opportunities.

As well as at-event traditional and digital branding, media backdrops, a branded baseball giveaway, on-the-ground activations and a bespoke branded space, title sponsor FTX ran a cause campaign with the Youth Sport Trust and also created a bespoke NFT Token range just for the tour and promoted its tie-up through a set of social media content.

The FTX MLB Home Run Derby X global tour was supported by Imagination, the global experience design company; Cake, the Havas-owned creative agency specialising in sport, entertainment and culture; and global media company, Team Whistle. The event was promoted through an integrated, multi-channel, multi-strand campaign and was streamed live.

 

London was the tour’s opening event and the other two festivals will take place in Seoul on September 17 and in Mexico City on October 15. As the tour continues, the FTX MLB Home Run Derby X aims to further evolve its high-energy live event experiences and brand opportunities through in-person engagement and digital storytelling.

Outcome

The event attracted 11,000 people in person, plus more than 1.2m viewers via the live stream and generated 6.9m total event views across MLB’s social channels.

Across social channels, the event generated 808,000 engagements and 77 per cent of the audience who tuned in for the TikTok live stream were not existing followers/fans of MLB. Thus the event succeeded in attracting a new audience.

Other standout success metrics included:

  • A total of 2,464 baseballs were used onsite for gameplay and crowd giveaway purposes – including the sponsor-branded orange FTX Hot Streak balls;
  • £17,000 donated to Youth Sport Trust by FTX which committed £425 for every Home Run that was hit on an FTX Hot Streak ball;
  • More than 1,000 HRDX Hot Dogs sold via Home Run House food truck and there was no event merchandise stock left from the Home Run Derby X event.

 

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