Sam Bankman-Fried wanted to sponsor Taylor Swift tour for $100M


Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried came close to clinching a $100 million deal with Taylor Swift to sponsor her upcoming concert tour, according to a report.

Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency exchange was in the final stages of negotiations with Swift’s team about a ticketing arrangement that involved digital certificates, or NFTs, according to the Financial Times.

FTX reportedly wanted Swift to offer up “a light degree of endorsement” on social media. The singer, however, never seriously considered it, the FT reported.

“Taylor would not, and did not, agree to an endorsement deal,” a source cited by FT said. “The discussion was around a potential tour sponsorship that did not happen.”

The talks sparked fierce internal opposition among FTX higher-ups who thought that it was too expensive. But Bankman-Fried reportedly pressed on because he’s a “fan of Tay Tay,” according to an FTX employee.

FTX reportedly wanted Swift to promote the cryptocurrency exchange on social media.

Bankman-Fried supported the endorsement deal, which was spearheaded by one of his top senior executives, Claire Watanabe, the FT reported.

But many of the more experienced hands that Bankman-Fried hired to help the marketing department thought that the price tag was too steep and that such a deal would not bring value to the company.

“No one really liked the deal,” a person familiar with the talks told FT. “It was too expensive from the beginning.”

The source cited by FT said that the price was “very high…really f–king high.”

“That’s front of the soccer jersey level prices.”

Sam Bankman-Fried
Bankman-Fried is being investigated by regulators following the stunning collapse of FTX.

The talks were initiated in the fall of 2021, but collapsed earlier this year — just months before FTX sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO.

In March, Swift will embark on her “Eras Tour” to support her new album, “Midnights.” Demand for tickets to her concerts was so high that it overwhelmed Ticketmaster’s servers, leaving fans who waited hours to purchase ducats emptyhanded.

FTX imploded after it was learned that the exchange was using customer funds to cover risky bets made by Alameda Research, an analytics firm that was also founded by Bankman-Fried.

Many of the marketing executives at FTX were fiercely opposed to the idea of a Swift endorsement.

Bankman-Fried denied allegations that he misused client money. He said management errors were to blame for the firm’s collapse.

The pursuit of the Swift sponsorship highlighted Bankman-Fried’s desire for celebrity endorsements of his company.

FTX counted Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady, his supermodel ex-wife Gisele Bündchen, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Larry David, tennis champ Naomi Osaka, retired NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, and others as celebrity endorsers.

In the wake of FTX’s stunning collapse, several lawsuits have been filed against the big-name celebrities who are accused of duping retail investors.

Bankman-Fried’s pursuit of glitzy endorsement deals included a 19-year, $135 million agreement for the naming rights to the arena which hosts the Miami Heat basketball team.

Miami-Dade County, the owner of the arena, now wants to remove the name.

Since Bankman-Fried’s fall from grace, several news reports have surfaced about his profligate spending at the helm of the company.

FTX reportedly spent hundreds of millions of dollars snapping up properties in the Bahamas, including a $16 million home that was listed under Bankman-Fried’s parents’ names.

FTX senior management figures were also given lavish perks such as free bi-weekly massages, DoorDash food delivery credits, Amazon deliveries by private jet, and other goodies.

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