Merchant bitcoin payments processor BitPay has announced that it will sponsor the St. Petersburg Bowl, an annual college postseason football game sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), through 2016.
This year’s game will kick off at Tropicana Field, home of Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays, on 26th December under a new name. The bowl was previously sponsored by chain restaurant Beef 'O' Brady's and USB provider magicJack.
Thanks to BitPay sponsorship, however, the bowl will now be known as the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. BitPay hopes the sponsorship will raise awareness by promoting bitcoin to a much wider, mainstream audience.
Executive chairman Tony Gallippi explained:
"Our goal is to continue to move bitcoin into the mainstream and sponsoring the St. Petersburg Bowl offers us that opportunity. College football fans and the bitcoin community represent a similar target demographic – tech-savvy men between the ages of 18 and 40 [years old]."
Brett Dulaney, executive director of the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl, welcomed BitPay to the world of college football and one of its venues, St. Petersburg.
The game will air on ESPN, a sports-centric US television network that reaches nearly 100 million American households.
In addition to a new prefix for the bowl, the event itself will become bitcoin friendly, too. ESPN Events says tickets for the 2014 Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl will go on sale later this year, with prices starting at $40.
However, this time around fans will be able to purchase tickets and merchandise in bitcoin.
It is not yet clear what types of merchandise will be available or whether this promotion will extend to in-stadium purchases for food and beverages, though more details are likely forthcoming.
Bitcoin in sports
Bitcoin has intrinsic properties that can make it a viable alternative payment method at sports arenas and other entertainment venues, and major professional teams are taking note.
Earlier this year, the San Jose Earthquakes soccer club started accepting bitcoin at its stadium box office, gift store and concession stands. Earthquakes President Dave Kaval told CoinDesk that the team decided to embrace bitcoin thanks to the relative proximity of Silicon Valley and its strong association with the digital currency. He also explained why bitcoin is a good choice for sports venues.
Additionally, the Sacramento Kings became the first NBA team to accept bitcoin back in January. Like the Quakes they also cited the close proximity of Silicon Valley as one of the reasons behind the decision.
Disclaimer: CoinDesk founder Shakil Khan is an investor in BitPay
Image via BitPay