The English Premier League – one of the largest sporting organisations in the world and one of the most sought-after sports rights globally – is back underway again, and its love affair with crypto seems stronger than ever.
Research by The Athletic, the sports news website, found that almost all the Premier League’s 20 clubs last year had at least one crypto sponsor at some level, and it’s predicted the same will happen for the 23/24 season.
It’s not just the likes of English football in the sporting world that is embracing digital currencies. Elite sports clubs around the world are doing the same – including FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and the Miami Dolphins, among many others.
It appears that crypto is now becoming an essential tool for these clubs to not only manage their finances but also to secure a prosperous future.
The adoption of crypto by elite sports clubs is driven by several key benefits that the digital currency offers.
Firstly, the decentralised nature of Bitcoin – the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market cap – provides clubs with greater control over their financial assets. This is particularly appealing for clubs that have substantial international fan bases, as it allows them to bypass traditional financial intermediaries and transfer funds directly across borders with reduced fees and delays.
Secondly, Bitcoin offers a level of transparency that is virtually unparalleled in the world of finance. Each transaction made using Bitcoin is recorded on the blockchain. This transparency not only helps sports clubs maintain accountability with their stakeholders but also helps in building trust with fans, sponsors, and investors.
Additionally, the potential for appreciation in Bitcoin’s value presents a unique investment opportunity for these clubs. By holding a portion of their financial reserves in Bitcoin, clubs can potentially benefit from its price appreciation over time. This strategy is akin to diversifying a traditional investment portfolio, albeit with the added benefit of exposure to a rapidly evolving digital asset.
Looking ahead, the integration of crypto into elite sports club’s financial strategies presents promising opportunities for future growth and innovation.
One avenue of exploration is fan engagement. Sports clubs can leverage crypto’s divisibility to create microtransactions for fan interactions. Imagine fans being able to purchase tokens that provide voting rights for club decisions, access to exclusive content, or even a say in certain in-game strategies. This not only deepens fan engagement but also opens up new revenue streams for the clubs.
Plus, the underlying technology, blockchain, has applications beyond just financial transactions. Smart contracts, self-executing contracts with the terms directly written into code, could revolutionise the way clubs manage player contracts, ticket sales, and sponsorships. These contracts could automatically execute payments based on predefined conditions, ensuring transparency and efficiency in negotiations.
Another exciting prospect is in global partnerships. As elite sports clubs continue to amass a global following, crypto can facilitate collaborations with fans and businesses from around the world. For example, by accepting Bitcoin for merchandise purchases or offering exclusive experiences payable in Bitcoin, clubs can tap into an ever-expanding, borderless market.
All in all, the marriage of elite sports and crypto seems poised to propel both sectors into a new era of growth and innovation. This will not go unnoticed by existing and potential investors.
Nigel Green, deVere Group CEO and founder