Cryptocurrency is taking over the Super Bowl. No, not for payments – though that’s happening, too. This year’s big game is being advertised as the “Bitcoin Bowl,” with several related sponsors and promotions popping up around it. So what does this mean for the NFL? And for cryptocurrency? Let’s explore these questions in detail.
The first two Bitcoin Bowls were held in late 2014 and early 2015, a novelty more than anything else. One was sponsored by BitPay, while Bitstamp hosted the other. The former occurred between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Miami Hurricanes, while the latter pitted Missouri against Minnesota. Neither game was particularly close, with the Tar Heels winning 45-37 and Missouri beating Minnesota 33-17.
However, the Bitcoin Bowl is more than just Bitcoin for Bitcoin’s sake. It’s about cryptocurrency in general, which many claim has become increasingly intertwined with football in recent years. For example, the University of Michigan Wolverines has a blockchain research lab, while Florida International University has an ethereum engineering initiative.
The Arizona State University, home to Sun Devil Mining, is a student-run organization. It allows students to gain real-world experience in cryptocurrency mining and learn about blockchain technology. The first regular-season Bitcoin Bowl took place earlier this year, with the University of Tennessee Volunteers beating the University of North Texas Mean Green 45-7.
However, the Bitcoin Bowl is not just a tagline or marketing campaign. The most prominent example came from BitPay in 2015, wherein it offered to refund all service fees for any vendors who accepted Bitcoin during Super Bowl weekend.
Bitcoin Bowl Is About Cryptocurrency
While the term “Bitcoin Bowl” may have been coined by BitPay – and is now being co-opted by Bitstamp – cryptocurrency itself has become increasingly ingrained in football. One main reason: The NFL has allowed teams to accept bitcoin as payments since 2014, and this past season many of them took that opportunity. Major football stadiums like AT&T Stadium and Sun Life Stadium now provide bitcoin-friendly ATMs so that fans can buy concessions with cryptocurrency. Of course, Bitcoin And The NFL Today’s relationship between cryptocurrency and sports have not always been rosy.
It’s often been controversial, including fantasy sports site DraftKings offering Bitcoin-only fantasy games. And, of course, esports has had its fair share of controversy surrounding cryptocurrency. But the NFL has never shown an aversion to blockchain or cryptocurrency in general. Instead, it’s embraced it – despite some opposition from within the league itself.
And there are reasons for that embrace.
First off, with 7.45 million American viewers, the Super Bowl is by far the biggest stage in sports. As such, it can serve as a massive platform for cryptocurrency. While Bitcoin itself may not have made a big splash in 2015 and 2016, this year’s Bitcoin Bowl has seen significant names in both Bitcoin and cryptocurrency backing it up.
BitStamp’s sponsorship of the Bitcoin Bowl is one such example. Still, blockchain-based start-up Covr’s NFL sponsorship, BitPay’s role as the “Official Bitcoin Payment Service Provider of the NFL,” and blockchain company Peerplays being an official sponsor of the National Football League Players Association.
Internet packages are another area where cryptocurrency is making its mark. For example, an internet service provider called FreedomPop allows subscribers to buy their monthly data in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Sprint’s soon-to-be-launched “Alliance Coin.”
What’s more, overstock.com has been accepting Bitcoin as payment for over three years now. The company even has its blockchain subsidiary called Medici Ventures. And it’s not just Overstock that accepts cryptocurrency – other significant retailers like Newegg and Microsoft also accept payments in Bitcoin — not to mention the many smaller companies that do as well.
Bitcoin Bowl ft. Crypto Marketing
Beyond the game itself, there is no better place for cryptocurrency companies to market their services than at the Super Bowl. The stadium is expected to pack over 100 million Americans – many potential new customers that don’t know much about blockchain technology or crypto payments.
The benefits of this kind of marketing are clear. First, companies unravel access to significant lead generation opportunities by sponsoring the Super Bowl. It is particularly true with BitPay, which has turned lead generation into fine art. The company’s offer of free game tickets is just one example of generating leads.
As Super Bowl becomes a global phenomenon, its promotional power can’t be overstated. This year it is expected to reach approximately 100 million viewers — and doesn’t include the people watching at home.
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