Crypto.com has found itself at the front and center of major fan bases in the world of Formula 1 (F1) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) through lucrative sponsorship deals that have helped drive the cryptocurrency exchange’s growth.
Speaking to Cointelegraph in a wide-ranging interview on Feb. 9, Crypto.com president and chief operating officer Eric Anziani opened up about the company’s high-profile advertising campaigns with F1 and the UFC, as well as its naming rights deal for the Crypto.com Arena in downtown Los Angeles:
“We’ve been fortunate to find these amazing partners. F1, the UFC, working in LA with the Crypto.com Arena and AEG.”
Anziani notes that market surveys carried out by the exchange indicate its global awareness ranks highly in terms of brand recognition from a retail cryptocurrency user perspective.
“For a brand to be built in just a couple of years is very difficult and very challenging to maintain. Staying top of mind for users is very challenging, and I think those investments have clearly paid off,” Anziani said.
Crypto reaching millions of fans
ESPN estimates that the 2023 Formula 1 season saw an average of 1.11 million viewers per race in the United States alone. Meanwhile, F1’s viewership figures from 2022 show that the sport attracts a viewership of more than one billion people over an entire race calendar.
The UFC also caters to a global audience, with fight nights over the past two years pulling similar audience numbers to a single F1 race. Some of the sport’s biggest fights, including Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor, sold 2.4 million pay-per-view tickets.
Crypto.com’s logo features prominently on the floor and cage padding of UFC octagons, commanding prime advertising real estate in what has been labeled as one of the world’s fastest-growing sports.
“We have also seen a lot of activations with those brands being integrated, being relevant to the fans and the participants. It has been tremendous in terms of being able to bring people into the space through these partnerships,” Anziani said.
The partnerships have played their part in Crypto.com’s growing user base. Previous estimates pinned these exchange’s user numbers at 80 million in 2023. Anziani told Cointelegraph that the exchange is approaching 100 million users in 2024.
What sets crypto exchanges apart?
As its footprint grows, Anziani said the exchange is also looking to provide specialist services to high-volume, high-net-worth traders. The company launched Crypto.com Prime in February 2024, an invite-only program requiring a $1 million deposit to activate its membership.
“When I want to do a large trade, a block trade, I need super low fees, I need deep liquidity. So we aggregated all the books and gave them two basis points,” Anziani explains.
The program includes institutional-grade custody, $1 million account protection and uncapped fiat transfers. The chief operating officer adds that the service also includes individual account managers for high-net-worth traders accumulating wealth and thinking about inheritance and tax implications.
Cointelegraph asked Anziani what sets exchanges apart regarding business models and offerings as more of the global population gains exposure to cryptocurrencies. The exec offered three separate considerations that seem to drive user’s choice of exchange platforms:
“It’s a great question but a complex one. First of all, whatever your profile, as a user, you want a place where you know your funds are safe, and you must also trust the platform.”
Anziani says other users are more focused on convenient access to cryptocurrency, whether quickly moving funds in and out of a service or buying a token with “two taps of a button.” Meanwhile, high-value, high-volume traders will look for application programming interface, or API, connectivity and exchange liquidity while fees play a bigger role.
“I think the foundation of compliance and security is what everybody is looking for as a starting point,” Anziani added, highlighting this is a significant starting point in the wake of ecosystem failures like FTX.
Crypto.com is among several cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses that have looked to leverage the global audiences reached by major sports codes. OKX is a prominent sponsor of English Premier League outfit Manchester City and F1 racing team McLaren. Cryptocurrency betting platform Stake joined the F1 party in 2024, securing a two-year naming rights deal with the Sauber F1 team.