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U.S. Sports Continue To Explore Cryptos

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October 24, 2019 | 

dan |  0 Comments| 

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Recently, the sports industry has begun to adopt cryptocurrency and digital tokens. It's a potential win-win for cryptos and the industry: Passionate fans will not hesitate to purchase crypto if they can then exchange it for a team- and league-related items, which should only help increase demand for the leading coins on the market. Meanwhile, the teams and leagues involved stand to benefit from opening themselves up to crypto spenders, incentivizing payments that could stand to increase in value over time, and presenting a forward-looking image.

It's for all of these reasons that we seem to be seeing more and more professional sports franchises dipping their toes into the world of decentralized currencies.

The most noteworthy example comes from professional basketball. Since 2014, the NBA’s Sacramento Kings have allowed fans to make payments for tickets with cryptocurrency. As of October 2019, however, the Kings have created their very own version of a cryptocurrency as well. The team’s dedicated fanbase can now be awarded “Kings Token.” This type of currency was developed by Blockparty and is a ERC20. Kings fanatics are able to access the currency with the team’s Golden 1 Center app. The hope appears to be primarily that these tokens will ultimately be useful in a "predictive gaming app" that will tie into legal sports betting when it comes fully to California.

Another sports franchise jumping on the crypto bandwagon is the Miami Dolphins of the NFL. Beginning with the current season, fans can buy tickets with bitcoin and Litecoin for games, via The Litecoin Foundation.

“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, noted Kim Rometo, Miami Dolphins Vice President & Chief Information Officer. 

Meanwhile, there are also some indications of cryptocurrency creeping into the sports world in other ways as well - namely through the same legal sports betting alluded to with regard to the Sacramento Kings' in-home token. Currently, those licensed betting sites that are doing business in the U.S. offer fairly broad options when it comes to payments. Some of the bookies coming over from Europe are already accustomed to accepting payments through services like PayPal and Skrill; as one of the U.S.-based options, BetMGM's payment options include things like Neteller, PayNearMe, and ACH Transfer.

The thinking among some is that with so many options already inherent to existing and spreading sportsbooks, cryptos could actually make for fairly unobtrusive additions.

We should note that despite these examples of cryptos' integration and potential in numerous facets of the professional sports industry, there have been some negatives as well. Most notably, the NBA did push back fairly strongly on an individual athlete attempting to enhance his own contract via a brand new cryptocurrency.

According to the New York Times in September, the NBA stepped in to stop Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie, after he revealed that he would be on launching the “$SD8” token. Dinwiddie wanted to make a larger investment out of his $34.4 million contracts through his very own digital currency, distributed by his company, DREAM Fan Shares. Through purchasing “$SD8,” fans would be offered a betting platform of sorts that hinged on Dinwiddie’s performance as a player - they would be investing, for all intents and purposes, in his success.

“What better way to be invested in a player as a fan than to have some level of skin in the game,” explained the basketball star. “With the way mine works, if I play well in that player option year and we split the profits up the first year of my new deal, it greatly appreciates the return on this investment vehicle.”

Citing the league's collective bargaining agreement (which Dinwiddie's idea would, in theory, have violated), the NBA did put a stop to this inventive initiative.

All in all, though, this appears to be something of an outlier occurrence. While it's important to acknowledge the negatives, there is by and large movement toward embracing cryptocurrency at the league and franchise levels. It appears very much as if the future of sports will be tied in multiple ways to cryptocurrency.
 

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