Professional sports franchises, leagues, and athletes are no strangers to cryptocurrencies.
As early as 2014, when the Sacramento Kings became the first professional sports franchise to accept Bitcoin, talk of how cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and blockchains like Ethereum might revolutionize sports have fueled public discourse.
Georgia Tech began accepting Bitcoin for its stadium concession sales in 2014. Marshawn Lynch, former Seattle Seahawks running back and Superbowl XLVIII Champion, invested in a blockchain company in 2015. His teammate, Richard Sherman, started accepting Bitcoin for merchandise on his website as early as 2014.
Despite the early enthusiasm, many cryptocurrency projects in the professional sports payments space have been limited or short lived.
The Litecoin Foundation, in partnership with the Miami Dolphins, announced today that it would begin accepting both Bitcoin and Litecoin for payments beginning in the 2019/2020 NFL season.
Aliant Payments, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based payment processing and independent merchant services provider, will be powering the cryptocurrency payment solution. Through the partnership, the Miami Dolphins, Litecoin, and Aliant Payments intend to give home game attendees the ability to pay with Litecoin and Bitcoin when purchasing tickets for the team’s 50/50 raffle. The 50/50 raffle tickets can be purchased both online and at 14 kiosk and raffle seller locations throughout Hard Rock Stadium.
“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.
Litecoin continues to gain popularity in the space as a means of payment for individuals, with tens of thousands of businesses around the globe allowing their customers to pay with the cryptocurrency.
Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin and managing director of the Litecoin Foundation. “This collaboration propels Litecoin in front of an audience of millions of people around the world at a time where adoption of cryptocurrencies continues to gain momentum and the ecosystem is able to support real world use cases in ways previously not possible. We see this as a powerful way to raise awareness and educate people about Litecoin and cryptocurrencies on a tremendous scale.”
Bitcoin, however, still leads as the cryptocurrency with the highest market cap.
As merchants like Whole Foods, Home Depot, Nordstrom, and Crate and Barrel accept Bitcoin payments, customers will have more choice as to how–and with what–they pay for their merchandise and experiences. Professional sports franchises accepting Bitcoin and Litecoin for an in game experience is just the beginning.
Beyond payments for tickets, merchandise, and stadium concessions, many sports and esports franchises are embracing broader approaches to incorporating cryptocurrencies and blockchain into their businesses. Ticket resale marketplaces, merchandise and sports memorabilia authentication, and real-time sports betting are just a few of the myriad examples live today.