The Sacramento Kings are set to become the first major sports franchise to offer a bitcoin payment option to all players and staff, team owner Vivek Ranadivé said on Clubhouse on Monday.
CoinDesk confirmed with a fellow speaker on the Clubhouse program, which was hosted by Tim Draper, that Ranadivé had previewed his announcement scheduled for later this week. News of the announcement first circulated on Twitter.
The move would strengthen the Kings’ longstanding claim to being one of the most crypto-forward teams in professional sports. The California National Basketball Association team began selling everything from tickets to hot dogs for bitcoin in 2014, and in 2019 launched rewards token for fans.
It was unclear at press time how the Kings will facilitate bitcoin payments to players and staff. It partnered with BitPay for the 2014 offering. BitPay did not immediately respond to CoinDesk.
National Football League player Russell Okung made headlines late last year for becoming the first NFL player to convert some of his $13 million salary into bitcoin. Okung used Zap’s Strike product to convert dollars to BTC.
A representative for the Kings did not pick up the phone.
When reached by email Tuesday night, fellow NBA team owner Mark Cuban scoffed at the Kings’ plan.
“Any player can convert their income to any crypto they choose,” Cuban told CoinDesk. “Paying in BTC or any crypto doesn’t really do anything. I would rather keep my BTC.”
Update (April 6, 5:59UTC): Adds comment from Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban.