The National Football League (NFL) is allowing teams associated with the organization to explore limited partnerships with crypto and blockchain companies given how strong, large, and popular the industry is becoming as of late.
The NFL and Crypto Are Forming a Stronger Partnership
While football clubs will continue to be banned from “directly promoting crypto” according to a recent memo issued by the NFL, professional teams will be able to engage in sponsorship programs with digital currency companies granted they do not go against set regulations.
The NFL is leaving certain limitations in place, and teams will not be able to work with companies that issue specific fan tokens, as these are often used in lieu of cash when purchasing memorabilia and tickets to events. In addition, stadiums will not be allowed to feature the names of crypto firms.
The memo states:
Clubs will continue to be prohibited from directly promoting cryptocurrency… In this evolving regulatory environment, it remains essential that we proceed carefully when evaluating potential commercial opportunities involving blockchain technologies and conduct appropriate diligence on all potential partners and their business models.
Joe Ruggiero – the head of consumer products with the NFL – stated that contracts between teams and crypto companies cannot last longer than three years. He commented in an interview:
So, it gives us flexibility for the long term.
He also stated that he is confident in blockchain and believes the NFL will eventually come around to getting rid of all limitations as the industry continues to grow. He stated:
We’re extremely bullish on blockchain technology. We think that it has a lot of potential to really shape innovation and shape fan engagement over the course of the coming decade…Everything is changing so quickly. We all need to be looking at the next areas of innovation, so we’re spending a lot of time looking at where the future might go.
The memorandum also explained that football clubs will be permitted to issue non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and can form deals with NFT-issuing or developing companies. The document reads:
Subject to League approval, clubs may now accept advertising (without use of club marks and logos, unless in connection with a League NFT deal) for NFTs and NFT companies.
Russell Okung Started a Trend…
While the industries have not become one and the same, it has been over a year now of players and traders seeing the worlds of sports and crypto working hand in hand on several different occasions. This arguably began with Russell Okung, a former player for the Carolina Panthers. He announced in early 2021 that he was going to convert more than half of his $13 million salary into bitcoin, claiming that the asset was the future. He stated:
Bitcoin fans are not only disrupting the status quo; we are reclaiming power that is rightly ours.