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Roma and Inter: Victims of Cryptocurrency Companies

A big fraud would economically hurt different European teams. What other clubs and what companies were also defrauded?.

Inter Milan and AS Roma player

Photos: IG-inter, IG-officialasroma

LatinAmerican Post | Javier Aldana

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Leer en español: Roma e Inter: víctimas de empresas de criptomonedas

For soccer clubs, the sponsorship of external companies means a fairly significant economic benefit. For this reason, European clubs have allied brands that guarantee million-dollar contracts in exchange for different types of advertising on their shirts, stadiums, web portals and wherever the club has a presence. There, the advertising on the front of the team jersey stands out, as it is the most visible place for advertising brands.

Companies and brands from all types of markets seek contracts with the best soccer teams in search of diffusion. For this reason, a relatively young business modality had a great impact on the market and ended up in soccer advertising: crypto companies. However, this trend between cryptocurrency businesses and soccer clubs has had serious breaches that have led to possible fraud and millions in losses of money. Some of the most representative affected teams are Inter Milan and Roma in Italy.

Breach of DigitalBits to Inter and Roma

DigitalBits is a California-based cryptocurrency company that forayed into soccer sponsorship and advertising by posting strong numbers in recent years. For this reason, the crypto company became the official sponsor of Roma since mid-2021 and Inter Milan since mid-2022. There, DigitalBits signed a three-year contract with the team from the Italian capital from 2021 to 2024 for 36 million euros, paying 5 million the first year, 10 million the second year and 21 million the third year. Likewise, the crypto company's agreement with the 'neroazzurri' was defined for three years between 2022 and 2023 for 80 million euros, paying 23 million the first year, 27 million the second and paying 30 million the last.

However, at the end of 2022 several cryptocurrencies suffered a sharp fall that drastically hit said digital ecosystem. For this reason, DigitalBits began to default on scheduled payments to Inter and Roma, who, faced with the million-dollar losses, decided to withdraw sponsorship of their shirts and different spaces. Now, it is expected that they will take legal action to terminate these contracts and be able to hire new sponsors such as eBay for Inter and Toyota for Roma.

Crypto breach in Spain

Cryptocurrency companies have left different victims in soccer. For example, in Spain clubs such as Celta, Espanyol, Alavés, Cádiz and Betis and even the Spanish National Team were sponsored by the crypto company Bitci, from Turkey. In principle, the contracts were successful and promising, but the defaults were promptly filed in full and the company stated that it was unable to make the payments due to its legal situation in its country. Finally, the clubs ended their relationships and contracts with said company, the same situation that happened between Real Sociedad and the crypto company Iqoniq.

You can also read: Premier League settled hard blow against sports betting

On the other hand, clubs like Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid, Valencia and Levante have seen how their fan tokens (a unit of value to manage their own business model and retain fans) have been devalued to the point of being unable to generate profits. Cryptocurrencies have shown instability that directly affected the economy of soccer clubs, which will be forced to entrust sponsorships to traditional companies that do not represent a commercial risk.

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