As part of a drive by English Premier League football club Watford FC’s shirt sponsor, Sportsbet.io, players will be wearing the Bitcoin logo on their sleeve.
The new aspect of the sponsorship deal will be part of a larger Bitcoin based push for Watford FC, who have also become the first English football club to accept Bitcoin as a payment method for merchandise, and there is talk of the cryptocurrency also becoming available to use onsite on match days.
Together, Sportsbet.io and Watford FC are attempting to revolutionize sports sponsorship, as Justin Le Brocque, head of marketing at Sportsbet.io, explained:
“Our partnership with Watford marks a major disruption in the world of traditional sports sponsorship, and by adding the Bitcoin logo we hope this world’s first partnership will create even more buzz around cryptocurrencies.”
Proving the football club are on the same page, Chairman and Chief Exec of Watford FC, Scott Duxbury, added:
“Placing the Bitcoin logo on a Premier League shirt is something that challenges the accepted norm. We’re excited about the partnerships and the potential for new global conversations that it could help start for our club.”
Will Other Clubs Follow Suit?
It seems likely that Watford will not be the only English club offering Bitcoin payments for long, and it should also be noted that they are not the first UK club which has made the move.
That honor goes to Scottish football club Ayr United, who announced in 2018 that they would be accepting Bitcoin payments as part of a similar sponsorship deal.
Something Completely Different
In an article published on Medium, Tim Heath, CEO of Sportsbet.io went into further details about the reasons for the sponsorship deal with Watford FC, and how the two organizations were looking to work together to create something new.
“While we have been involved in sports sponsorship in the past — notably as headline sponsor of last summer’s 2019 CONIFA European Football Cup — our deal with Watford is something completely different.”
Heath went on to explain the “thought process” behind the deal, saying that it is new to “[see] a cryptocurrency-led challenger brand such as Sportsbet.io claiming a prize piece of advertising real estate.”
Heath went on to say:
“A relentless innovation drive has helped us achieve this, and over time we have worked hard to ensure Sportsbet.io is available to as wide an audience as possible. This includes adding a range of currency options, both fiat, and crypto, including euros…
“We are already extremely well established in the crypto community; if you hodl cryptocurrencies and like to wager on sports, you are probably already playing with us.
But when the possibility of a Premier League sponsorship was first mooted, we saw an opportunity for something far bigger.”
The Next Step
It is clear from this interview that innovation was the aim with this sponsorship deal, and the use of the Bitcoin logo, as well as Bitcoin as a payment method, may just be the first step as Sportsbook.io look to try and change the game.
One thing that will almost come as a result of this is the state of Bitcoin legitimacy, especially with a wider audience. Bitcoin has long been used by online casinos in markets where credit card processing proved to be a challenge, but that is just looking at things on a micro-level.
While the rise of Bitcoin has been well-documented, and the popularity of cryptocurrencies in general, and Bitcoin specifically as the best-known member of the growing pack, has been growing at a startling rate, there are still many in the wider community who have their doubts.
To see not only a high profile Bitcoin focused company but also the Bitcoin logo itself on the shirt of a major UK sports team will undoubtedly have a positive effect on Bitcoin’s reputation.
With the deal going a step further, and not only advertising Bitcoin through sponsorship, but also offering a practical form of promotion by offering Bitcoin transactions, it is more than likely that the result will be more people considering Bitcoin a legitimate currency, as opposed to an internet fad that they would rather avoid.
We can safely assume that this will not be the last such deal that is made between a sports team and a cryptocurrency-focused company, the buzz around the news about Watford FC, and the 2018 announcement from Ayr United, pretty much guarantees that more teams and more companies are going to want to get in on the Bitcoin revolution as it makes its way into the mainstream sports world, and especially football, where disruption makes a global impact.
As Tim Heath said in the aforementioned interview:
“[Football] is a truly global phenomenon. When Norwich City’s Onel Hernández played on the opening weekend of this season, Cuba became the 114th country to have had at least player participate in the Premier League.
It was yet another inspiring Premier League story.
And as a partner of Watford — a young, upcoming team looking to disrupt the established elite — we are already looking forward to many more over the next three years.”