FTX.US Partners with University of Kentucky Wildcats to Compensate Players

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Key Takeaways

  • Crypto exchange FTX.US has formed a partnership with the University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball team.
  • The partnership will not see players paid in crypto, but players will get access to FTX’s debit cards and NFT services.
  • FTX has formed various other sports and e-sports partnerships in recent months and gained naming rights to venues.

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Crypto exchange FTX.US has announced a new partnership with the University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball team. The deal includes players being paid a monthly stipend in U.S. dollars via FTX debit cards.

Wildcats Partner with FTX

The University of Kentucky Wildcats will now be able to monetize their name, image, and likenesses (NIL) through a new partnership with FTX.US, the U.S. component of crypto exchange FTX. The athletes will act as brand ambassadors for FTX as part of the sponsorship arrangement.

The right of student-athletes to profit from their own NIL has been subject to contentious debate in the U.S. and has been significantly curtailed in the past. Earlier this year the NCAA voted to allow student-athletes to profit from their own NIL, reversing decades of policy, though only in the wake of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively compelled it to do so.

Players will be paid a monthly stipend in U.S. dollars via custom FTX debit cards. FTX will also allow the players to earn money by creating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on its collectibles marketplace. That service went live in October with support for Solana-based NFTs.

The athletes will act as brand ambassadors for FTX as part of the NIL sponsorship deal.

Avi Dabir, VP of business development at FTX.US, said that the company is “thrilled to work with players from one of the most successful collegiate basketball programs in the country,” and that the exchange will assist in educating players about crypto.

Several Sports Partnerships

FTX is among the five largest crypto exchanges in operation. Over the past 24 hours, it saw a trading volume of $3.7 billion on its spot exchange and $16.2 billion on its derivatives exchange.

The exchange has spent more than $350 million on sports partnerships. Recently, it gained naming rights to the former American Airlines arena in Miami and a football field at the University of California. It has also partnered with the MLB and the e-sports league TSM in recent months.

In other basketball news, the NBA has formed numerous crypto partnerships. The pro league formed a partnership with crypto exchange Coinbase this October. It also worked with Dapper Labs to launch a series of non-fungible tokens called Top Shots.

Meanwhile, NBA teams such as Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks have supported crypto independently.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing this author held less than $100 of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and altcoins.

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