Angel City FC is partnering with Crypto.com, the first cryptocurrency platform to officially join forces with a women’s sports team.
As part of the deal announced Tuesday, the cryptocurrency and financial services platform will act as the Los Angeles-based NWSL club’s official cryptocurrency and NFT partner. The new collaboration will promote and support education around cryptocurrency as well as access to NFT development, providing ACFC players with the opportunity to build their own creations.
Julie Uhrman, Co-Founder and President of Angel City Football Club, tells Just Women’s Sports that the club’s ownership group, which includes venture capitalists, product, entertainment and tech entrepreneurs, is especially excited about the prospects of NFTs. Uhrman says they’re “incredibly valuable, especially for sports teams.”
“It’s another opportunity to authentically connect fans with their favorite players, with their favorite teams and with their favorite leagues,” she said.
Angel City also incorporated NFTs into their their July crest launch, fractionalizing the club’s emblem into 5,000 digital assets, which were gifted and sold to investors and fans as a way to foster a sense of communal ownership in the team.
“With Angel City, we wanted to find a way to increase our connection with our community and fans and found that NFTs were a perfect way of doing that,” Uhrman said.
Another key component of Angel City’s partnership with Crypto.com is financial education.
“It’s important to us to make sure that we are empowering women in all parts of their lives,” said Jess Smith, Head of Revenue at Angel City. “And if you look at the current landscape, and you look at the data behind women and engagement with NFTs and Web3 and cryptocurrency, they’re behind the men in adaption to this.”
The expansion club aims to close the growing gender disparity within crypto by providing their players and the community with the education and means needed to participate in the market.
“Crypto.com is the leader as far as creating an exchange, so we want to educate our community and fan bas e… and really just help people understand the space,” Uhrman said. She also sees the NFT side of the relationship as an opportunity to empower players “to become creators, to create community through their creations and to have ownership of the product or of the item that they create.”
As the first deal of its kind, the collaboration also serves as a decisive moment for women’s sports. Angel City takes great pride in being a part of that progress.
“This partnership is a turning point for women’s sports and signifies the growing recognition of the power and influence they yield,” ACFC Leading Founding Investor Alexis Ohanian said in a statement.
While this may be Crypto.com’s women’s sports debut, the platform has already made its mark on the Los Angeles sporting community, signing a 20-year rights agreement to rename Staples Center, which hosts the Sparks of the WNBA, the Lakers and Clippers of the NBA, and the NHL’s Kings.
ACFC said the company’s commitment to Los Angeles will be central to their evolving relationship.
“[Crypto.com is] really looking at the culture of Los Angeles and the creators that exist and how the world looks to L.A. for what comes next,” Smith said. “You can expect this partnership to be representative of that and how we bring those worlds together through our platform with them.”
Though the joint venture is just getting off the ground, ACFC hopes to have a broad impact on the space, with Uhrman saying her ultimate goal would be to play “a critical role in seeing women equal 50 percent of investors in cryptocurrency.”
She hopes Angel City players, who are already savvy at building personal brands, will harness NFTs to build a community and create ownership over a product, which in turn can “significantly [impact] their yearly income in a positive way.”
Angel City, which begins play in the NWSL in 2022, previously announced their inaugural home kits in November. Among the club’s many initiatives is a first-of-its-kind Players Fund, which pays ACFC players a percentage of all home ticket sales. The club announced last week that it had already sold 13,200 season tickets for its debut season.