The upcoming Formula 1 race in Miami — already carrying the name of a crypto company — will also have a team sponsored by a competing firm in the space.
Ahead of the Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix on May 8, exchange OKX has partnered with McLaren Racing in a multi-year deal worth “hundreds of millions,” a spokesperson told Blockworks.
OKX branding will appear on McLaren cars during the event, as well as on the suits and helmets of McLaren F1 drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo.
“We choose our partners on the basis we can provide fans and users with meaningful experiences; we aren’t simply interested in brand exposure,” OKX Chief Marketing Officer Haider Rafique told Blockworks in an email. “We want to invest in the fans as well as our partners and lay a strong foundation for long-term future collaborations.”
The deal comes shortly after Rafique joined OKX from competing exchange Okcoin. Before Okcoin, he was head of growth for Blockchain.com and was a head of product marketing at Microsoft.
Rafique was a special adviser to the OKX executive team earlier this year and helped drive a multimillion-dollar partnership agreement with Manchester City. The company announced last month he will build a global marketing team to make crypto mainstream and lead the company’s international expansion efforts.
OKX is the second-largest exchange by trading volume, according to data compiled by Blockworks, and reports having more than 20 million users across 180 markets.
Crypto.com became the first cryptocurrency sponsor of Formula 1 in a reported $100 million deal, the company announced last June. It revealed in February that it would be the title sponsor of the Miami Grand Prix.
Still, the deal is the first of its kind, an OKX spokesperson said, noting that no other crypto company has been the largest partner to a Formula 1 team before. Bybit in February became a “top tier ally” of Red Bull’s F1 team, behind title partner Oracle.
“In a rapidly-evolving field, OKX is a long-established crypto brand that brings innovation, analytics and accuracy to accomplish great things,” McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said in a statement. “The first-ever Miami Grand Prix is the perfect occasion for us to launch this significant partnership, through which we will collaborate with OKX to take our fan experience to all new levels.”