Baseball Pro Shohei Ohtani Is FTX’s New Superstar Spokesman
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Baseball Pro Shohei Ohtani Is FTX’s New Superstar Spokesman

Created 2yr ago, last updated 2yr ago

The Los Angeles Angels’ superstar is the latest in a line of elite athletes including Tom Brady and Steph Curry to become brand ambassadors for the cryptocurrency exchange.

Baseball Pro Shohei Ohtani Is FTX’s New Superstar Spokesman

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The Los Angeles Angels’ wildly popular pitcher/slugger Shohei Ohtani has announced a long-term sponsorship deal to become a global ambassador for crypto exchange FTX.

He’s going to receive all of his compensation in cryptocurrency as part of the deal. In an announcement, the company explained:

“Ohtani will serve as a spokesperson for FTX to further elevate the FTX brand, increasing awareness of the company's platform and digital assets in general on a global scale.” 

The announcement is just the latest in a series of high-profile athlete endorsement and sports marketing deals by Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange, which has been on a sponsorship spree lately, announcing similar endorsement deals with NFL legend Tom Brady and NBA superstar Steph Curry, and signing a $135 million, 19-year stadium naming rights deal with basketball’s Miami Heat. He also paid as much as $6.5 million for a Super Bowl ad.
The deals have been aimed at increasing public awareness about the cryptocurrency and digital asset market generally, as well as FTX — and its American arm, FTX.US — as a doorway into it. So far, it seems to be working. In the third quarter of 2021, FTX.US saw its trade volume surge by more than 500%. 

In the Ohtani announcement, Bankman-Fried said:

"As a company that is revolutionizing the digital asset ecosystem and greater financial landscape, we are continuously looking for partners that share our commitment to being a leader in their respective space. Shohei has become a transcendent player in baseball in just a short period of time and this, combined with his support of digital assets, made it an easy choice to enter into a partnership with him.”

FTX will also support a number of charitable initiatives Ohtani supports, particularly helping animals, Bankman-Fried said.

A Global Brand

Considered a leading contender for the American League’s Most Valuable Player award on November 18, Ohtani is a superstar both on the mound and at the plate — this year he became the first player ever selected for the All-Star Game as both a hitter and pitcher, and has drawn inevitable comparisons to Babe Ruth. He “could soon emerge as [the] new face” of Major League Baseball, a Reuters sports analyst said in July.

While Ohtani is a huge star in the U.S. — a nickname is “Shotime” — that popularity is dwarfed  by the fervor of his support in his native Japan, where he started his career with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball's Pacific League. 

Unfortunately, while Ohtani’s “popularity in Japan is inescapable,” FTX won’t see any benefits there: The exchange does not accept Japanese customers. And, it directs American clients to a separate marketplace: FTX.US.
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