The cryptocurrency exchange FTX, one of the biggest sponsors in esports that holds naming deals with both TSM and the LCS, is set to be acquired by its largest rival in Binance, raising questions about the future of one of the most lucrative naming deals in esports history.
Binance, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, said today it will officially acquire FTX for an undisclosed sum, with rumors and fears swirling that the crypto market is headed for another crash. As first reported by the New York Times, Binance founder Changpeng Zhao said that “FTX asked for our help” and that his company will “fully acquire FTX.com and help cover the liquidity crunch.” FTX has been “scrambling to meet a surge of withdrawal requests over the last few days,” according to the NYT report.
Back in June 2021, an on-the-rise FTX landed a monumental deal with well-established esports organization TSM via a lucrative 10-year, $210 million naming rights deal that would see the organization go by the name “TSM FTX” across League of Legends, VALORANT, Apex Legends, and other titles the org competes in.
But hours after that deal was announced, TSM was informed by Riot Games that it would not be allowed to use its new crypto exchange sponsor during official broadcasts in League or VALORANT because it was in violation of Riot’s guidelines about partnerships with cryptocurrency exchanges. Salt was further rubbed in TSM’s wounds when two months later, the LCS itself landed a seven-year sponsorship deal with FTX.
TSM still retains the “TSM FTX” name on its socials, as well as on official Apex Legends broadcasts. The team even won the 2022 Rainbow Six Siege Invitational as “TSM FTX.” The purchasable TSM pro jersey features the FTX logo prominently, but the jersey worn on stage by its League roster did not feature said logo.
TSM has not yet responded to a request for comment from Dot Esports.