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Italian soccer club AC Milan has extended its partnership with BitMEX, a cryptocurrency exchange that became the team’s first-ever jersey sleeve sponsor in 2021.
The extended deal now sees BitMEX named as AC Milan’s premium partner, in addition to its official cryptocurrency trading partner title held since 2021. BitMEX’s logo has appeared on the gameday sleeves of both the AC Milan men’s and women’s team kits since that original deal was inked.
AC Milan released its first NFT collection with BitMEX last year in collaboration with design studio Fansea. Fans could pay €45 (about $50) for the NFT, which showcased a 3D image of Milan’s jersey. Sales of the NFT went to Fondazione Milan, the team's charitable arm that supports causes such as the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and UNICEF in South Sudan.
"We are happy to continue our journey alongside a partner such as BitMEX, with whom we intend to take further steps forward in the path of [digitization], innovation and growth of the club, but also to support the many charitable initiatives promoted by Fondazione Milan,” AC Milan Chief Revenue Officer Casper Stylsvig said in a statement.
MilanNews previously reported that BitMEX was paying €5 million (about $5.6 million) per year to sponsor AC Milan, although terms of the new deal have not been disclosed. Cryptocurrency has been a popular sponsorship category for Italian soccer, with top Serie A club Juventus signing a deal with Bitget in 2021.
Some deals have, however, fallen apart amid the crypto market downturn. Italian clubs AS Roma and Inter Milan both had sleeve sponsorships with the blockchain company DigitalBits, but their deals were terminated earlier this year after DigitalBits failed to make payments to the clubs.
Elsewhere in European soccer, cryptocurrency exchange OKX expanded its sponsorship last month with English club Manchester City. Spanish giant FC Barcelona recently launched a limited-edition NFT art auction in partnership with World of Women, while crypto fan token platform Socios has partnerships with teams across England’s Premier League, Spain’s LaLiga, and Italy’s Serie A.