Tribeca Festival Signs Crypto Trading Desk OKX as Its New Top Sponsor


After working with American Express and AT&T as its main sponsors for the past 20 years, the Tribeca Festival will be sponsored starting this year by a less conventional brand at OKX, a cryptocurrency trading platform launched in Beijing in 2017.

The exclusive presentation partner agreement, which was negotiated by talent firm Creative Artists Agency, will be worth tens of millions of dollars over a three-year period, according to people familiar with the situation.

In addition to the festival itself, which will be held June 8-19 in Manhattan, OKX Technology Inc. will offer year-round support for Tribeca programming in the U.S. and abroad, said co-founder and executive director of the festival Jane Rosenthal.

AT&T took over from American Express as the festival’s main sponsor in 2014. Rosenthal and other organizers began looking for a new corporate sponsor when Tribeca’s contract with AT&T was terminated, he said. They made a deal with OKX based on their interest in new media formats, he said.

“I felt it was going to be the right one for two companies that intend to push new ways of telling stories and new ways of supporting artists in all different categories,” Rosenthal said.

OKX Marketing Director Haider Rafique said that in the future, the two organizations could, for example, help sponsor the production of films designed for the metaverse while allowing creators to raise money in the blockchain and monetize the your work with digital tokens.

The festival will feature a non-fungible commemorative token this year and plans to move further into the NFTs in the coming years, Rosenthal said.

“We want to provide the tools to the creators,” Rafique said. “In the coming years, we will help create these stories and work with hardware vendors such as Facebook..

The Tribeca Festival, which premiered in 2002 as a way to revive midtown Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks, is not new to the digital world. He began showing short films online in 2004, a year before the advent of YouTube. And in 2011, it became the first film festival to preview a video game, screening Rockstar Games’ “LA Noire” to viewers before its release.

Jane Rosenthal, co-founder and executive director of the Tribeca Festival, photographed last summer.


Photo:

Lev Radin / Zuma Press

The festival’s offering has expanded beyond traditional cinema in recent years to showcase virtual reality exhibits and interactive multimedia installations. Last year, the festival removed the word “Film” from its name.

OKX, now headquartered in the Seychelles, says it is the second largest cryptocurrency trading platform in the world by spot trading volume after Binance, but has little brand recognition in Western markets. Its main commercial products are not currently available in the US because the company lacks the necessary license, Rafique said.

OKX will use sponsorship to promote its MetaX portfolio, which is available in the United States and allows users to store items they have purchased on multiple Web3 platforms.

In recent weeks, OKX has signed sponsorship deals with Manchester City Football Club and McLaren Racing despite the recent turmoil in the global cryptocurrency market.

WSJ’s Dion Rabouin explains why Wall Street is now so committed to cryptography and what it means for the new asset class and its future. Composite photo: Elizabeth Smelov

The company has reached the agreement of Tribeca to create a long-term partnership with a respected brand, said Mr. Rafique, instead of drawing attention with a big-budget celebrity advertising campaign or a stadium naming rights agreement like most well-known cryptographic competitors have. The aim is to establish consumer confidence in the OKX brand and alleviate any uncertainty among Western consumers that may arise from OKX’s Chinese origins or its status as a newcomer to the market, he said.

OKX will use Tribeca’s sponsorship to help teach filmmakers and fans how to use cryptocurrencies and related Web3 technologies responsibly, rather than investing for short-term benefits, Rafique said.

“When you put your brand next to Tom Brady and Giselle and it doesn’t make sense, we push ourselves to do something where it makes sense,” he said of his platform’s participation in the festival.

Write to Patrick Coffee and patrick.coffee@wsj.com

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