If you watched Game 1 of the World Series on Fox this week, you couldn’t escape cryptocurrency marketing.
Really, if you watch sports in general you can’t escape various crytpo ads, although it made a bigger impact during Game 1 thanks to a debuting ad with David Ortiz.
One place you still won’t see direct advertising for crypto, though: ESPN. That’s by policy, as it currently stands, with Terry Lefton reporting at Sports Business Journal that ESPN won’t be accepting ad buys from crypto companies until completion of an “internal review.”
SBJ had this official statement from ESPN, as well:
In an emailed statement, Disney Advertising Sales Senior VP Mike Denby said, “We are actively in conversations with key advertisers in this category, and are thoroughly evaluating these companies and their products and services. We look forward to collaborating with many of these brands in the near future.” He did not offer a specific timetable for when Disney would adopt a policy on the matter.
This really isn’t that surprising; Disney tends to be fairly conservative with frontier sectors like crypto. Once ESPN decides to open up the floodgates, though, expect to see it in force. Sports betting proliferation has led to a swell of gambling-related ads on ESPN networks.
Plus, as SBJ notes as well, there are plenty of indirect crypto ads making appearances on ESPN. Direct on-court/on-car/on-apparel sponsorship deals with other leagues and teams means you’ll still be able to spot various crypto-related messaging and branding. There’s no way to avoid it altogether, even if ESPN and Disney would prefer to take more of a measured approach to the market.
At some point, though, it becomes hard to just turn down money that competitors are accepting, even if you’re Disney. At that point, full ad breaks might just be filled with sports betting and crypto commercials.