Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology continue to grow their influence in the league. Last week, the Dallas Mavericks became the second team in the NBA to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment for tickets and merchandise. This comes after announcing a partnership with Lympo last November, which was touted as, “the first blockchain fitness app currently in the United States.” The first team to accept Bitcoin, the Sacramento Kings, began as early as 2014 when the price of a single coin was trading at around $850 versus north of $10,000 today. Last summer, the Kings announced that they would start mining Ethereum inside their arena, with the proceeds going to support local foundations in the Sacramento area. And with the league announcing a partnership to launch blockchain souvenirs for fans, it begs the question: What is the future of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in the NBA?
While it is still unclear exactly the ways in which teams and the league at large will continue to use cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to their advantage, it’s evident that there is genuine interest and optimism on the subject. And as the technology continues to improve, it will become increasingly appealing for teams to implement.
Might a team go so far as to creating their own coin? There are reasons that this would make sense. With so many different points of contact between fans and teams– ticketing, food & beverage, merchandise– a form of payment that is directly associated with the team could be a way to generate more fan affinity.
Generating a miniature economy within the confines of an arena would work much like a traditional arcade that sells tokens. Fans could win “LakerBucks” or “ClipperCoin” from various giveaways and use them on whatever they please. And with the underlying blockchain technology, organizations could better understand the ways in which fans interact with their product.
Even more appealing, with the possibility of in-arena gambling, teams could create an experience where fans use team-specific cryptocurrency if they wish to bet on games while inside the arena. This way, any potential winnings would be used towards buying tickets, merchandise and other goods versus simple financial gain. It might even make the entire enterprise of gambling more palatable to certain teams that are worried about any backlash that comes with sports betting. This is a reasonable concern for the league considering that the NBA is heavily marketed towards families.
Date: August 22, 2019