NFL Players Union Strikes Deal to Help Athletes Earn Crypto

The National Football League Player's Association is partnering with a blockchain startup to help its athletes license products in return for tokens.

Jul 31, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:13 a.m. UTC

The players' union for the National Football League (NFL) is partnering with a blockchain startup to help athletes license products on a decentralized network.

Announced Tuesday, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) plans to encourage its members to provide commentary, livestreams and other content for the FanChain platform, thereby earning revenue for themselves outside the games they play.

To that end, the NFLPA has purchased a minority stake in blockchain startup SportsCastr, the company behind FanChain.

SportsCastr's platform allows anybody to set up streams and provide commentary on games, NFLPA vice president of business and legal affairs Casey Schwab told CoinDesk. With the new partnership, some NFL players will be able to earn revenue by providing commentary during live sporting events and otherwise creating unique content for fans to enjoy.

"When you look at blockchain, and obviously currencies have been the most ubiquitous use of blockchain today, but when we look at tokenized assets or tokens or [non-fungible tokens], we look at the different ways we can try to create products that are going to be sustainable and long-lasting," he said.

Schwab added:

"Because of the decentralized nature of the platform, anyone can get on it, players can get on it. NFL players are really interested in blockchain, in crypto … if a player calls me and asks 'how do I get involved' I'd suggest he go on SportsCastr and start generating tokens."

To bring in revenue on the platform, athletes can either earn tokens from the system by creating content for the platform, or have fans pay them with tokens directly.

Players may even be able to launch subscription-only streams, according to Schwab.

The platform won't be limited to just football players, either. Schwab said that representatives from other sports are in discussions with the platform too, although he could not provide a timeline for any potential program launches.

Similarly, athletes will free to discuss or commentate on games from sports outside their own, he continued.

"We're not limiting it to any sports. It's really about engaging all athletes," he said.

The NFLPA first started considering working with a blockchain startup several months ago, as part of its OneTeam Collective – the union's venture capital arm. Schwab explained that the wing allowed companies to offer equity rather than cash when licensing trademarks or player time.

"I'm a big believer in blockchain and I think it will revolutionize our industry, sports, like it may have revolutionized industries like food," he said.

As a result, the NFLPA looked for a platform with a solid foundation, which brought it to SportsCastr.

Schwab concluded:

"They are building an entire universe. To use an analogy, they're not just building the video game, they're building the video game, the console, the outlets [and] the television. That's a big endeavor."

NFL football image Shutterstock

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