Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX ditched by top sports partners amid crisis

The effects of crypto exchange FTX’s meltdown are being felt across the digital currency industry, and have extended to the world of sports too.

Prominent sports partners of FTX have ended ties with it, following its stunning fall from grace. Once valued at $32 billion, the company led by Sam Bankman-Fried filed for bankruptcy this week.

FTX’s success had enabled it to enter into high-profile sports partnerships in Formula One racing and basketball. Now those deals are falling apart.

Mercedes Formula One team said it will remove FTX’s name from its race cars ahead of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

“As a first step, we have suspended our partnership agreement with FTX,” a spokesperson for the company said, according to Reuters. “We will continue to monitor closely the situation as it evolves.”

The Miami Heat Basketball team, whose home arena is named after FTX, are also distancing themselves from the company.

Describing the turn of events at FTX as “extremely disappointing”, they said: “We will be working to find a new naming rights partner for the arena.”

FTX had signed a 19-year deal worth $135 million for renaming the Miami arena last year, CNN reported.

Apart from these, FTX also signed million-dollar partnerships with Major League Baseball and the University of California, Berkeley.

Major League Baseball umpires had sported FTX patches as part of the organisation’s deal with the crypto exchange. There has been no statement from them so far about what happens to the agreement now.

The collapse of FTX has drawn intense scrutiny from government regulators. Its CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, once the public face of cryptocurrencies, has stepped down after taking responsibility for the crisis.