Cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com has backed out of a five-year sponsorship deal worth $495 million with the UEFA Champions League, European soccer's elite league, according to a report in SportBusiness.
The deal, which had reportedly been agreed in principle, would have seen Crypto.com take over as sponsor from Russian-state owned energy company Gazprom. UEFA, Europe's governing body for soccer, cancelled the Gazprom contract in March following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Crypto.com scrapped the deal because of regulatory concerns in the U.K., France and Italy, with legal issues surrounding the scope of its licenses to trade and operate, SportBusiness said.
The Singapore-based exchange has taken a gung-ho approach to sports advertising over the past year, signing a 20-year naming deal with the Staples Center in Los Angeles for $700 million and piling $150 million into Formula One racing sponsorships. It also also paid $100 million for an advertisement featuring Hollywood actor Matt Damon as it looked to cash in on last year's bull market.
Since then, however, cryptocurrency prices have tumbled. Bitcoin has slumped from nearly $69,000 in November to around $20,000 at the time of writing.
Neither Crypto.com nor UEFA immediately responded to requests for comments.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish, a cryptocurrency exchange, which in turn is owned by Block.one, a firm with interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets including bitcoin and EOS. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.