It’s not at all surprising that sports organizations were among the first major players to see the value in cryptocurrency. Athletes are by nature both risk takers and trend setters, so it only makes sense that theirs would be one of the industries that could instantly recognize the potential of the blockchain.
Among the first businesses that were down with dealing in Bitcoin were online sports betting sites. In the world of wagering, Bitcoin betting sites are now a commonplace occurrence.
Sports franchises, sporting events and even the athletes themselves are recognizing the endless opportunities that cryptocurrency and the blockchain are currently presenting and that this is a growth industry that will work wonders for those who get in on the ground floor.
Sports organizations have been boarding the Bitcoin train for the majority of the past decade. As far back as 2014, the Dogecoin community raised approximately $25,000 to help fund the trip by the Jamaican bobsled team to the Sochi Winter Olympics.
That same year, they raised an additional $55,000 from 67 million Dogecoins to sponsor the No. 98 Ford Fusion of NASCAR driver Josh Wise for a Cup Series race at Alabama’s famous Talladega Speedway.
In 2019, Litecoin became the official cryptocurrency of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. Through the partnership, the Dolphins, Litecoin and Aliant Payments gave home game attendees the ability to pay with Litecoin and Bitcoin when purchasing tickets for the team’s 50/50 raffle.
“The Miami Dolphins are always looking for ways to enhance the fan experience, and this partnership with Litecoin provides the ability for guests to enjoy our 50/50 raffle while donating to a great cause,” Miami Dolphins Vice President & Chief Information Officer Kim Rometo said.
One year earlier, Litecoin sponsored UFC 232, a card headlined by UFC world light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Turkey’s national soccer team has qualified for Euro 2021 and there, the squad will be sponsored by BTCTurk. They are the first cryptocurrency platform to sign a sponsorship deal with a national soccer team.
“We take great pride in being one of the main supporters of our National Teams at the UEFA European Championship, which will be held in 2021 — the first time the games will be held in an odd-numbered year,” BTCTurk CEO Özgür Güneri said in a statement.
BTCTurk is also sponsoring the Turkish women’s national team. As well, the company has a sponsorship deal in place with the Turkish Super League team Yeni Malatyaspor.
Kings Of Embracing Cryptocurrency
The NBA’s Sacramento Kings are known as one of the most technologically savvy professional sports franchises and they took the cryptocurrency plunge with both feet.
In 2014, the Kings were the first NBA team to accept Bitcoin as payment for goods inside their home arena. Four years later, Sacramento became the first professional sports team in the world to mine cryptocurrency. Mining Ethereum, they used the funds to create a charitable program called MiningForGood. It donates funds to workforce development and training efforts within the local community.
The Kings also established the NBA’s first blockchain-powered rewards program in conjunction with Blockparty, a digital asset marketplace. The club is also working with CryptoKaiju, creator of the world’s first vinyl toys powered by Ethereum and fully traceable on a public blockchain, to launch the first physical crypto-collectible in professional sports.
More recently, working with Consensys and Treum, the team launched the NBA’s first live blockchain-powered auction platform for authentic memorabilia.
There are also athletes who are looking to take the cryptocurrency connection even further. In 2019, two NFL players – Russell Okung of the Los Angeles Chargers and Matt Barkley of the San Francisco 49ers – sought to be paid their salaries in Bitcoin. Their teams refused.
However, the Turkish Soccer Federation wouldn’t have an issue should one of their players seek payment via cryptocurrency.
“Contracts made between teams and players act as the basis in these situations,” Turkish Federation president Nihat Özdemir explained. “If both parties agree upon the terms of payment as crypto, then the payment can be made in crypto.
“If the contract allows, you can make the payments in Bitcoin, gold, or other values.”
49ers All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman accepts cryptocurrency as payment for merchandise on his website.