Sportswashing describes groups, corporations or nation-states using the global popularity of sports to improve their reputations by proxy. Think of how Qatar hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the biggest sporting event in the world; how Qatar’s emir owns Paris Saint-Germain which rosters three of the world’s most liked athletes (all from different countries with a combined population of 325 million people); how Russia hosted the 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2014 Winter Olympics; and how China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics and 2022 Winter Olympics.
In these situations, glitzy spectacles are all designed to shine a favorable light on those groups, corporations or nation-states to mask otherwise unfavorable realities. Super Bowl commercials can have the same flattering effect.
To be sure, I’m not implying that the crypto companies who had Super Bowl commercials last year are hiding human rights atrocities or something like that. But as we’ve learned since the last Super Bowl, many of them were hiding something not great.
Source: I’m Glad There Are No Crypto Super Bowl Ads: Here’s Why