Tezos, the proof-of-stake blockchain network that announced an NFT deal with Ubisoft weeks ago, is now expanding into esports. The Tezos Foundation announced today that it would be sponsoring Team Vitality, a leading European esports organization.
Tezos will become Vitality’s “main partner” during the three-year deal that runs through 2024, alongside clothing brand Adidas and PC hardware maker Corsair. Both parties have shared an image of Vitality players wearing a new jersey emblazoned with the Tezos logo.
Apart from the jersey sponsorship, Tezos will work on technical blockchain-based applications for the esports team, such as NFT collectibles, an NFT marketplace, and opportunities for fan engagement. As other teams have done via their respective crypto sponsorships, Vitality players will also work to educate esports fans about blockchain technology.
Neither the terms nor the value of the deal have been disclosed. In a release, Vitality claims the alliance is one of its largest sponsorship deals to date and is among the largest esports partnerships in Europe.
We field teams in a number of other competitive games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rocket League, and Fortnite, a league run by Riot Games.
Tezos’s partnership with Vitality is the latest in a recent wave of esports teams and leagues partnering with crypto companies.
A ten-year, $210 million naming rights deal with popular team Team SoloMid (TSM) in June 2021, sponsored by cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has made the biggest headlines in the space thus far. As part of the deal, the exchange will sponsor League of Legends esports competitions for seven years (value not disclosed).
In addition to the partnership with ESL, Coinbase also signed deals with Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, and BIG for 2021. Team Fnatic was sponsored by Crypto.com, and Team Secret was sponsored by Uniswap through a marketing grant chosen by UNI token holders.
Even as crypto partnerships flourish in the esports industry, publishers and developers of traditional video games are facing backlash for embracing NFTs. Despite social media backlash, Ubisoft’s recent deal with Tezos for in-game NFT items in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint went ahead anyway.