Racing fans, start your engines.
Haas F1 Team, the only American-owned team in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, announced today a partnership with OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace by trading volume.
The new deal will include the production of a line of branded NFTs and cross-promotion during racing events where the OpenSea logo will appear on the Haas F1 Team VF-22 series cars.
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are cryptographically unique tokens linked to digital and physical content, providing proof of ownership for things like artwork, music, memorabilia, and items in video games.
"NFTs have the incredible power to unlock new experiences and give us a canvas to bring people together around the things they love in new ways," said Shiva Rajaraman, VP of Product at OpenSea, in a statement. "We're looking forward to bringing innovative collections to life with the Haas F1 Team, building new experiences for their community of dedicated fans, and providing new ways for everyone to get even closer to the action."
Crypto’s sports hurdles
Haas's deal with OpenSea is the latest in sports leagues—and racing brands in particular—adopting Web3 tech to broaden their reach and brand awareness. Back in April, crypto exchange FTX and F1 team Mercedes-AMG Petronas announced a collection of racing NFT collectibles around the Miami Grand Prix and the 2022 racing season.
In June 2021, Tezos, who had already partnered with Red Bull Racing, announced a partnership with F1 team McClaren Racing.
But sports partnerships in Web3 have been a mixed bag, with only a handful of successful ventures.
In June 2022, FTX confirmed that it had pulled out of discussions to sponsor a jersey patch with the Los Angeles Angels, telling Decrypt it wasn't the right fit for their marketing goals. They said that the decision was not the result of the recent market downturn.
Rival exchange Crypto.com saw its own sports league sponsorship deals hit a snag in August 2022 when it pulled out of a $495 Million sponsorship deal with the European Champions League (UEFA). The Crypto.com deal came after UEFA’s previous sponsorship deal with Russian natural gas company Gazprom was canceled by the league after the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
But Guenther Steiner, Team Principal of Haas F1 Team, is confident in its partnership with OpenSea.
"We've waited to find the right partner in the NFT space, and in OpenSea, we've found exactly that," Steiner said, "It's going to be exciting for us to take our first steps into the NFT environment and engage with OpenSea's passionate community."