Cryptocurrencies have been making a big splash in the sports world. From basketball to soccer, 2019 has been a year of many high-profile endorsements and partnerships.
This year, we’ve seen many high-profile endorsements pop up between major sports team and cryptocurrency projects. After all, it makes sense: sports provide cryptocurrency projects with a fresh, new audience.
A Marketing Push Unlike Any Other
The first reason for cryptocurrencies going into the sports world is simply marketing — there’s untapped potential among what is one of the largest entertainment markets in the world.
Take the English Premier League, for example. Recently, StormGain announced a high-profile partnership with the historic team Newcastle United FC. The cryptocurrency exchange will be the team’s official ‘Sleeve Sponsor’ for the 2019/20 season. StormGain, though, is just one example of many marketing pushes which have been trying to make a splash in the sports world.
A similar development has been happening simultaneously at the NBA. Recently, the famous Cleveland Cavaliers formed a partnership with the cryptocurrency exchange UnitedCoin. They will now be advertising at the team’s home games.
However, cryptocurrencies have more to offer to the sports world than just team endorsements for marketing.
Crypto-Adoption in Sports
Blockchain technology has the potential to bring innovation to sports — potentially making some administrative and payment processes more efficient.
Payments and Betting
Using cryptocurrencies for payments is likely the most intuitive use-case for the industry in sports. It brings an entirely new revenue stream to ticket sellers. Some teams are already taking notice, too — like the Portuguese football club SL Benfica, which began accepting cryptocurrency payments for tickets and merchandise this past June.
However, crypto-payments don’t just have to be for sales. They can also be for salaries. Russell Okung, of the Los Angeles Chargers, is one of the most outspoken players who want to be paid in Bitcoin. Many professional players have brought up similar requests, but so far no team has complied — but we may see a Bitcoin salary in the sports world soon enough.
With sports also comes betting, and a large number of sports betting platforms accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a payment method now, like Bovada.
It’s no secret that collectibles are moving online and many teams are already taking the plunge.
Last year, the Major League Baseball team Los Angeles Dodgers announced it would be issuing 40,000 exclusive collectibles on Ethereum.
The United States National Basketball Association (NBA) and its affiliated union — the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) — also plan to realize a crypto-collectible game sometime in 2020 with Dapper Labs.
Administrative and Anti-Fraud Measures
With ticket scalping always being a problem, blockchain can provide sports organizations with a solution. By authenticating all tickets on a decentralized ledger, each ticket can be linked to an individual buyer more easily. This makes the administrative work that much easier and saves money as well.
These are just a few of the benefits blockchain brings to sports, not to mention the growing world of fantasy sports which the technology is just beginning to tap into. In short, the recent upsurge of cryptocurrency-related companies in the sports world is just getting started — and we can expect blockchain technology to be a permanent fixture in the sports in the coming years.