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eToro raises Premier League profile with Bitcoin payments first

Investment platform eToro has become the first brand ever to service its Premier League sponsorship deals using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, after striking deals with seven top clubs.

The payment method may be something of a publicity stunt, but highlights the eToro network’s offering to investors who trade in commodities, stocks, currencies and crypto-assets, alongside other financial products.

eToro believes cryptocurrency is the first step on a journey that will see all assets tokenised by computer technology, including football transfers. “This is very much the first step on a long road to football fully embracing bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology,” said Iqbal Gandham, eToro’s UK managing director.

The one-year deals with Brighton and Hove Albion, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton include matchday perimeter advertising rights and a presence across the clubs’ digital channels.

The cryptocurrency category is “developing at a rapid rate”, according to Fran Jones, head of partner services at Tottenham Hotspur.

Earlier this year Arsenal signed with the US cryptocurrency CashBet, while newly-promoted Wolves signed a shirt sleeve deal with the cryptocurrency exchange platform CoinDeal in July.

eToro’s first deal with a Premier League football club was made with West Ham in 2015, as reported in detail by Sport Sponsorship Insider.

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The partnership is understood to be a three-season deal, from 2019-20 to 2021-22, and builds on AXA’s existing Global Partner agreement with Liverpool.

The deal is the largest ever sponsorship investment in UK women’s sport and comes less than a year after the league went fully professional in September 2018.

Under the five-year global deal, Oppo will become the first Official Smartphone Partner of The Championships, Wimbledon, as the event is officially known.

US sportswear brand Nike is paying about $7.5m (€6.7m) per year to sponsor China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL), according to industry sources.