NFL Patriots Partner With Web3 Blockchain Firm Chain, CEO Buys Patriots.eth for $99,000

Updated by Kyle Baird
In Brief
  • Chain inks deal with New England Patriots owner Kraft Sports + Entertainment to provide stadium visitors with Web3 experiences.
  • The value of the four-year deal has not been disclosed.
  • Chain CEO Deepak Thapliyal bought the ENS domain name "patriots.eth."
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Blockchain infrastructure firm Chain announced a new sponsorship deal with the National Football League’s (NFL) New England Patriots, and Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution.

Under the terms of the new four-year deal, Chain will partner with Kraft Sports + Entertainment to create innovative Web3 experiences for visitors to the Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots and New England Revolution.

“We are proud to partner with Kraft Sports + Entertainment to envision the future of Web3 for Gillette Stadium, the New England Patriots, and the New England Revolution. Our team is excited to help Kraft Sports + Entertainment build cutting-edge experiences for stadium visitors utilizing Chain’s proprietary blockchain technology,” said Chain CEO Deepak Thapliyal.

Kraft Sports + Entertainment is part of a consortium, The Kraft Group, a group of privately held companies with business interests in professional sports, manufacturing, and property development, based in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The company manages sales, marketing, content development, and event operations for the Gillette Stadium and the two New England sports teams. It purchased the New England Patriots in 1994 and was one of the founders of the New England Revolution soccer team.

In November 2021, Kraft inked a deal with Socios.com to provide New England Patriots fans with a way to win prizes for answering match-related questions during each week of the football season.

Chain CEO buys patriots.eth ENS domain, an NFL first

Following the announcement, Thapliyal bought the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domain Patriots.eth for 75 ETH ($99,321.75). ENS domain names map human-readable domain names to cryptocurrency addresses, content hashes, and certain types of metadata in the Web3 environment. They can be traded as nonfungible tokens on secondary marketplaces like OpenSea. Much of the Twitter sentiment surrounding the new agreement came from owners of ENS domains.

Notably absent from the announcement is the mention of fan tokens that other sports teams have launched through Socios.com to grant holders access to exclusive fan merchandise and experiences. This omission is likely due to a 2022 ruling by the NFL that made it possible for teams to secure blockchain sponsorships for as long as three years, provided the teams don’t promote specific cryptocurrencies and fan tokens.

Following the NFL ruling, the Dallas Cowboys became the first NFL team to sign a sponsorship deal with a crypto company in April. The agreement with crypto exchange Blockchain.com includes branding and advertising.

Thapliyal owns BAYC and CryptoPunk NFTs

Thapliyal, an avid NFT collector, also owns the Deepak.eth and nerev.eth domains, along with NFTs from blue-chip collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club.

In February 2022, Be[In]Crypto reported that Thapliyal bought CryptoPunk #5822, another blue-chip NFT, for a record-breaking $23.7 million worth of ETH using DeFi protocol Compound.

The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

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