OKX expands sponsorship deal with Manchester City


Quick Take

  • Crypto exchange OKX has announced an expansion to its sponsorship deal with the treble-winning soccer champions Manchester City.
  • The new multi-year agreement sees OKX become the club’s official sleeve partner on the men’s and women’s first-team playing kits.

Crypto exchange OKX has expanded its sponsorship deal with the treble-winning soccer champions Manchester City.

The new multi-year agreement sees OKX’s logo promoted on the sleeve of Manchester City’s men’s and women’s first-team playing kits and retains its position on the club’s training kit sleeve, according to a statement.

The deal was unveiled at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium as a “virtual reveal” video featuring player avatars. OKX didn’t respond to a request for comment on the deal's valuation.

“We are very proud to have OKX represented on the sleeve of the Manchester City shirt," City Football Group CEO Ferran Soriano said in the statement. “We have already seen great web3 experiences designed by OKX for Manchester City’s global fan base and there will be many more to come.” 

City Football Group (CFG) is a British-based holding company that owns Manchester City and other soccer teams including New York City FC and Melbourne City FC. CFG is majority owned by Newton Investment and Development LLC, a company registered in Abu Dhabi, wholly owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The Premier League side pulled off a treble-winning season in 2022/2023 for the first time in its history, emulating the feat of city rivals Manchester United in 1998/1999. Under coach Pep Guardiola, the club picked up the English Premier League and FA Cup titles, as well as the European Champions League trophy.

From murals to the metaverse

OKX was first announced as Manchester City’s official cryptocurrency exchange partner in March 2022. Then, in July of that year, OKX inked a sponsorship deal with the club to emblazon its logo on the front of Manchester City’s training kit during the 2022/2023 season. City AM reported that deal was worth more than $12 million at the time. 

Last year’s deal also saw OKX become a presenting partner for City’s 2022 trophy tour. OKX commissioned street artist Akse P19 and Global Street Art Agency to create murals featuring Manchester City players Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish, Joao Cancelo and John Stones across the city.

In February, OKX and Manchester City players Jack Grealish, Rúben Dias, Ilkay Gündoğan and Alex Greenwood launched the “OKX Collective,” an “immersive metaverse fan experience” offering fans access to exclusive content and rewards.

“Manchester City was our first official global brand partnership and in just a year and a half we have come a long way,” OKX CMO Haider Rafique said. “We always intended to integrate with the sport and help the club lead on leaning into web3. Fast forward fifteen months, we now have a metaverse, an NFT initiative and a number of other new projects that we are excited about. The sleeve partnership brings us closer to City fans across the globe.”

OKX also has partnerships with other sports brands and athletes including McLaren Formula 1, The Tribeca Festival, Olympian Scotty James and F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo.

UK regulatory concerns and potential advertising restrictions

The sale of crypto derivatives, a product offered by OKX, was effectively banned by the UK’s financial regulator in January 2021. OKX and other crypto exchanges comply with the rules by not advertising such services in the country. OKX said it considers the partnership with Manchester City for its global fanbase.

Following a collective agreement by Premier League clubs to restrict gambling sponsorships on team shirts, there are also concerns the same thing could happen to deals with crypto companies. The Football Supporters' Association wants the game's authorities to introduce regulatory standards on crypto in football, the UK media outlet Sky Sports reported in April. However, with the new gambling sponsorship changes not coming in until the 2026/2027 soccer season, any similar move for crypto sponsorships could be some years away.

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