The league’s Voyager partnership, announced in December, is notable for its size and construction. About half of the value of the deal was to be paid to the league in cash, while the other half was to be paid to the league has been determined for individual athletes to invest in cryptocurrencies through the Voyager platform.
The account was never funded, according to several people familiar with the partnership, and now Voyager is stepping in voluntarily Chapter 11, it’s unclear how many—if any—players will actually see. In a letter distributed Thursday to athletes, the NWSL said there is “no clear answer at this time if, or when, player accounts will be funded.”
Letter, which was reviewed by Sportsalso said that if the account is not funded, the League will work with NWSLPA to share some of the cash it received from Voyager.
“Player funds are always intended to be distributed to accounts on Voyager in cryptocurrency, with the aim of educating players about investing in the crypto space,” the letter said. “Thus, there is always a risk in terms of the volatility of the cryptocurrency market.”
A representative for the NWSL declined to comment. Representatives for the NWSL players’ union and Voyager did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The NWSL deal will attract attention across the world of sports, where crypto companies have been spending heavily in pursuit of new customers and market share. At most in 2021, as currencies like Bitcoin and Ether rapidly increase in value, crypto trading platforms and lenders open an expensive Super Bowl. advertisementnabbed arena naming rightsguaranteed jersey adsand rushed in team and league-wide offer. However, in the past few months, many markets have collapsed, causing huge losses for investors and even bigger problems for some of the biggest companies in the industry.
The NWSL received cash payments the first year, according to one of the people, and Voyager field signs and website ads remain active in the league. Crypto companies are also partners in 10 leaguesTh anniversary celebration, and remain part of the promotion NWSL website.
The league may be hoping that fulfilling its side of the deal helps Voyager’s claims for debt, but it’s likely the NWSL (and the players, too) will be unsecured creditors, according to Gregory Moffettdirector at Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios, Chartered LLP, and co-chairman of the firm’s creditor rights and bankruptcy practice.
“If in fact the conditions that the debtor has to fulfill, or the things that the debtor has to do, do not correspond to his plan to go bankrupt or sell the company or whatever he plans to do, then [the NWSL contract] there might be a risk of rejection,” Moffett said in an interview.
Two months before Voyager announced its financial problems, it collapsed a famous stablecoin shake up the industry. Most recently, a prominent crypto hedge fund named Three Arrows Capital filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy. assets are frozen and the founder’s place is unknown), and soon, Voyager and his friends who gave him money Celsius network filed for Chapter 11.
The NWSL’s Voyager deal is different from other leagues’ crypto deals because of the player accounts it funds. As the women’s soccer league grows its commercial footprint, it has found several new partners who are willing and eager to directly support NWSL athletes, many of whom also play for the US women’s national team and become prominent figures. In July, for example, the league announced a partnership with CarMax that includes an extra $5,000 for each player on the team with the best season record.
The statement sent in its website Last month, Voyager explained what bankruptcy could mean for customers. The company says its cash reserves are insured and not held in special types of bank accounts, and should eventually be available for withdrawal. The crypto in user accounts, however, is unlikely to be returned in full—Voyager says that option will depend on the restructuring and final outcome of more than $650 million in claims against Three Arrows, with whom it has business ties. The statement did not directly address marketing commitments like the NSWL deal.
The NWSL partnership could be called an “executive contract,” Moffett said, meaning there are ongoing obligations on both sides—payments from Voyager; marketing light of the league. In Chapter 11 proceedings, those contracts are often at risk of being rejected, he said.
Moffett added that it will be a long time before the league has a resolution. There is usually a multi-month exclusive window for debtors to come up with a reorganization plan, but subsequent extensions can take a year or more.
The NWSL letter also said Voyager asked the league if it could share live updates with the players. The league said Voyager will send the update separately. It is unclear if that has happened.