NFL Grants Teams Permission to Pursue Blockchain Sponsorships, But What About Cryptocurrency?

by Chase Thomas
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(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Things are changing in sports. As fans saw the Staples Center become the Crypto.com Arena this season in Los Angeles, folks wondered where sports might go next. Especially when it comes to cryptocurrency. Things are still evolving, though. There is much to still be learned and figured out in this new frontier. However, one thing we do know for sure is that the NFL has granted teams permission to pursue blockchain sponsorships. So teams can seek sponsorship. But they cannot promote cryptocurrency directly.

NFL Sends Out Memo on Blockchain Sponsorships

The memo states, “In this evolving regulatory environment, it remains essential that we proceed carefully when evaluating potential commercial opportunities involving blockchain technologies, and conduct appropriate diligence on all potential partners and their business models.” The NFL wants to take the slow-burning approach. Especially when it comes to this new venture. They are moving forward with blockchain sponsorships. They are just doing so carefully. The memo continued, “Clubs will continue to be prohibited from directly promoting cryptocurrency.” That is a key part of what will still be the case for NFL teams across the league.

However, there is optimism about where things are headed in this realm. Especially with blockchain technology. The NFL’s head of consumer products, Joe Ruggiero, told CNBC, “We’re extremely bullish on blockchain technology.” He continued, “We think that it has a lot of potential to really shape innovation, shape fan engagement over the course of the coming decade.” The opportunity is there. The NFL is just thinking long-term when it comes to this.

Another key part of the memo read, “Subject to League approval, Clubs may now accept advertising (without use of club marks and logos, unless in connection with a League NFT deal) for NFTs and NFT companies.”

There is more to the memo and the story. It also states that teams will not be able to be “engaging in product licensing arrangements or sponsorships for NFTs or NFT companies (other than as permitted in connection with League-level NFT partnerships).” So, NFL teams in 2022 can now add NFT deals on the advertising front. However, they still cannot license any products or sponsorships for both NFT companies and NFTs themselves.

Future of The NFL

Ruggiero concluded, “Everything is changing so quickly – we all have to be looking at the next areas of innovation. So, we’re spending a lot of time looking at where the future might go.” Only time will tell what this all means for the future of business in the NFL.

However, with NFTs and cryptocurrency gaining in popularity. It is fair to wonder how much further the league will dip its toes into these waters. In the not-too-distant future. Again, only time will tell, but it is something to watch.

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