By Kellen Browning
The conversation started with a direct message on Twitter from one 29-year-old entrepreneur to another: “Yo, what’s up?” It ended with one of the more lucrative naming rights deals in recent sports history.
On Friday, TSM, a competitive video game organization based in Los Angeles, announced that it was changing its name to TSM FTX — and getting paid $210 million over 10 years in the process. FTX, an up-and-coming Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange, will foot the bill.
The annual $21 million payment is larger than many deals corporations have struck with traditional sports teams in recent decades to have their names attached to stadiums and arenas. It is similar to recent transactions like Citibank’s deal with the New York Mets ($21 million per year), MetLife’s contract with the New York Giants and New York Jets (about $19 million per year) and the British bank Barclays’ agreement with the Brooklyn Nets ($20 million per year).
Of course, the big difference here is that TSM is changing its actual name — the equivalent of the New England Patriots, who play in Gillette Stadium, rebranding as the New England Patriots Gillettes.