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Fans of these leagues have a relatively high knowledge of cryptocurrencies, yet fewer crypto companies invest in female athletes and teams.
The crypto industry has turned to sports to educate the masses. Over the last few years, sponsorships in male sports leagues have popped up in large chunks. For example, soccer’s FIFA World Cup is sponsored by trading platform crypto.com, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Golden State Warriors is sponsored by crypto exchange FTX and the National Football League’s (NFL) Dallas Cowboys is sponsored by financial services company blockchain.com.
But while crypto companies have raced to grow their presence in male-dominated sports leagues, the space has not expanded as fast in the women's. Could this be because crypto is a male-dominated industry? Possibly. But by engaging with women’s leagues, an industry that is growing exponentially, the crypto economy also has enormous opportunity to educate new fanbases.
Women’s sports – an emerging target for investment?
In 2020, women’s sports globally received less than $1 billion in sponsorships, while $467 billion went towards men’s and mixed sports (including Olympic and Grand Slam tennis events). This enormous inequity is astounding, especially given the fact that women’s sports in the United States alone have enormous returns and active engagement from fans.
According to a Nielsen report, sponsorships in women’s sports have gone up by 146% since 2018, indicating that there is vast momentum and a dedicated audience following women’s leagues. Fans of women’s sports are also 25% more likely to buy sponsored products than fans of men’s sports, adding to a widespread sentiment that women’s sports fans are fiercely loyal to their favorite athletes and teams.
These stats, combined with surveys showing that sports fans have a higher degree of understanding of what cryptocurrencies are, makes breaking into the female leagues that much more pertinent for the crypto industry. A poll from 2021 by the Morning Consult, showed that sports fans are twice as likely as non-sports fans to have some knowledge about Bitcoin or Ethereum, and three times as likely to say they are very familiar with the workings of the crypto ecosystem. Overall, 47% of respondents (who are sports fans) said they are very familiar with crypto, compared to 39% of U.S. adults and 23% of non-sports fans.
But when you break down the audiences and their awareness of the crypto industry, those that are loyal to “niche leagues,” such as women’s leagues, follow the crypto industry more intently than those who actively follow the big four leagues: the NBA, NFL, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball.
By Margaux Nijkerk