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Crypto: Welcome to the ‘crypto Super Bowl’ with cryptocurrency ads running during the game for the first time

One closely watched rookie on Super Bowl Sunday will be crypto.

Super Bowl viewers are used to seeing ads for the likes of Budweiser
BUD,
+3.15%

and Coca-Cola
KO,
+0.31%

during the big game. Now bitcoin
BTCUSD,
+1.52%

and ethereum
ETHUSD,
-1.85%

will also have some time to shine.

For the first time ever, the Super Bowl telecast will include ads from cryptocurrency exchanges as the Cincinnati Bengals square off against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

“Cryptocurrency is becoming more mainstream every day,” Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, told MarketWatch. “These companies are desperately scrambling to bring in new customers. People sign up for a particular firm to invest in cryptocurrency and they tend to stay with that firm.”

NBC, the Comcast
CMCSA,
-1.82%

unit and NFL broadcast partner televising the Super Bowl, has stated that multiple 30-second ads for this year’s game went for over $7 million per slot, which is a 20% increase from 2018.

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Also: Here’s everything you need to know about legally betting on the Super Bowl in 2022

And one of the companies shelling out millions for Super Bowl commercial time is the crypto exchange FTX.

FTX CEO Sam Bankman sees the Super Bowl’s nearly 100 million–plus audience as a good way to inform the masses about his company — and cryptocurrency, in general.

“There is no bigger, more mainstream event to share a message like that than the Super Bowl,” Bankman said about buying the ad time. FTX has also signed endorsement deals with big-name athletes including Tom Brady and Stephen Curry.

Crypto.com is joining FTX in its multimillion-dollar spending spree for Super Bowl ad time. The cryptocurrency exchange app and platform, which is based in Singapore, is continuing its huge marketing push in the sports world, which also includes a $175 million kit sponsorship with the UFC, as well as a $700 million stadium-naming-rights deal with the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. For Sunday’s game, Crypto.com could be showing its infamous “Fortune favors the brave” commercial featuring actor Matt Damon.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that FTX and Crypto.com were buying ad time during Sunday’s trophy tilt. In fact, 40% of this year’s Super Bowl commercials come from new advertisers, including FTX and Crypto.com, NBC reported. In comparison, last year’s Super Bowl had 26 new advertisers, while both 2019 and 2020 had just seven first-timers, according Variety.

See also: Amount of money wagered on the Super Bowl expected to reach over $1 billion

But if bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptos have been around for years, then why are these exchanges only now laying out the cash for Super Bowl ads and other marketing initiatives in the sports world?

The answer could be that crypto exchanges seem to have identified that sports and sporting events are home to their perfect customers and biggest fans.

“The idea of sports, and the idea of winners and losers — that tends to work well when it comes to crypto investing,” Calkins said. “This idea that you can win by investing in crypto probably aligns perfectly with this sporting event.”

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