Social trading network eToro has signed sponsorship deals with seven English Premier League teams, including Tottenham Hotspur, which finished third in the EPL last season, and 2015/16 champions Leicester City. The most unique aspect of the partnerships is that all of the clubs will be paid in Bitcoin.
The other five EPL clubs working with eToro are Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace, Cardiff City, Newcastle United, and Southampton. The teams will all be given Bitcoin in digital wallets set up on eToro. The amount of Bitcoin each team will be paid was not disclosed.
“We’ve done a sponsorship deal, but rather than pay them [the clubs] in traditional pound notes we’ve paid them in Bitcoin,” said Iqbal Gandham, eToro’s U.K. managing director, in an interview with The Telegraph. “What they choose to do with that is entirely up to them.”
According to The Telegraph, several of the EPL clubs explained that these partnerships will help them to learn more about blockchain technologies, and also to simply demonstrate their interest in innovation. The secure features of the blockchain could be used to prevent illegal ticket reselling, and perhaps the global nature of cryptocurrencies might even mean that players from around the world might one day be paid directly in Bitcoin or another similar currency.
“This is very much the first step on a long road to football fully embracing Bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology,” Gandham explained, according to The Drum.
Blockchain is increasingly part of the modern sports industry. Just last week UEFA used the technology to ensure the security of its general admission tickets at the Super Cup, Player Tokens also launched a re-imagining of traditional baseball cards that is similar to CryptoKitties, and The Crown League launched its professional fantasy football league, with shares in its teams being their own cryptocurrencies. While the seven EPL teams are only being paid by eToro in Bitcoin right now, expect the integration of blockchain and soccer to only grow.