FTX launching NFT sports platform, backs LCS esports league with 7 year deal

FTX is launching an NFT platform centered on sports and entertainment and has also stitched up a new sponsorship with professional esports league, the League Championship Series LCS.

According to Variety, FTX U.S. is teaming up with Dolphin Entertainment to create a “large scale” NFT marketplace that will target brands within the sports, entertainment, gaming, esports and charity industries to name a few.

“We are excited to build marketplaces with Dolphin, both because of their ability to access content and IP, but also because they are leaders in public relations and influencer marketing for every major vertical of entertainment,” said Brett Harrison, president of FTX U.S.

“There are several items on the horizon that we can’t wait to launch together,” he added.

Dolphin Entertainment is a Florida-based TV and film production company that owns several independent PR and marketing firms which service the sectors outlined for the new NFT marketplace.

Details are sparse on the launch date or what blockchain will be utilized, however Dolphin will work alongside FTX to provide the branding, production and marketing of the NFT platform, while FTX will provide the backbone with crypto exchange services and blockchain tech development.

Related: Top Shot to sell exclusive NFT moments at live basketball games

FTX is also backing the professional LCS esports league for Riot Games’ League of Legends (LoL). According to an Aug.4 announcement from LoL, the exchange has signedd a sponsorship deal for seven years.

FTX previously signed a naming rights deal in June to sponsor esports brand “Team SoloMid” for $210 million. However, the team was promptly barred from donning the FTX’s logo in esports competitions hosted by Riot Games, as it violated the game developers’ guidelines about crypto exchange partnerships. The team is currently allowed to bear the logo outside of North America and online via social media.

The new partnership is the largest sponsorship deal Riot has signed for an esports league, however, FTX’s monetary outlay is undisclosed at this stage.

“Starting this weekend, fans will notice FTX branding on the LCS broadcast around the most valuable currency in League of Legends: Gold. Player net worth, total team gold and those rollercoaster gold graphs will all be presented by FTX,” the announcement read.

FTX will also sponsor the LCS most improved player award that is voted on each season.

The latest partnership adds to FTX’s list of sponsorship deals this year which includes pro-baseball league the MLB, a $135 million 19-year naming rights deal for Miami Heat’s home stadium, and the $210 million naming rights deal for Team SoloMid.

FTX is a popular crypto and derivatives exchange fronted by ambitious billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried. The firm recently raised $900 million in a Series B funding round at a valuation of $18 billion.