The San Jose Sharks have become the first NHL team to break the ice and start offering tickets for crypto. The Sharks will now join other professional US sports teams like the Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, and Oakland A’s as other teams accepting crypto for ticket sales.
To do this, San Jose will be teaming up with BitPay to accept a number of crypto payment options including Bitcoin (BTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC). Additionally, five stablecoins that are linked to the US dollar will be accepted (GUSD, USDC, PAX, DAI, and BUSD).
Initially, only season tickets and luxury suite leases will be offered for sale via BitPay, with regular game tickets planned for the future. The plan also includes the eventual addition of merchandise and even food sales at the arena.
In the long-term, the crypto project could expand even further said team President, Jonathan Becher. “I do think the blockchain will have more of an impact on sports & entertainment than people realize,” Becher tweeted. The team has even entertained the idea of creating Sharks memorabilia as an NFT collection. Beacher stated that this was the next natural step for the team and organization to make after PayPal’s move into crypto.
San Jose reportedly felt much more confident in utilizing it as a payment method considering PayPal is already used by the team’s platform. Becher said in an interview with the Sports Business Journal that, “We’re accepting PayPal, so then by definition, we’re accepting cryptocurrency. Why not embrace it and make it more visible as opposed to just doing it through a third party?”
Another step toward US sports fully embracing crypto payments
As mentioned above, the San Jose Sharks are joining a small group of other pro sports teams in the United States to offer crypto payments for tickets or merch. Perhaps the most notable example of teams embracing crypto culture is the Dallas Mavericks. It doesn’t hurt that their owner, Mark Cuban, has been a vocal supporter of digital currencies and has even launched an NFT marketplace of his own called Lazy.
The Mavericks have been accepting bitcoin payments since 2019 and have even expanded to offer crypto payments in their online shop.
The Sacramento Kings are another NBA franchise to embrace cryptocurrencies. Albeit, in a different way. While the team became the first major team in any sport to offer crypto purchases, they took their commitment to digital assets a step further in 2021. Earlier this season, the franchise announced that they will not only offer players the option to be paid in crypto but also anyone on the team’s staff.
The volatility of the crypto market does make these transactions very unique as the “price” paid for seats can fluctuate significantly on a daily basis. For example, when the Oakland Athletics put 10 luxury suites on sale for one bitcoin each, the price of BTC was near its apex at $59,000.
Since the sale, the price of bitcoin tumbled to $35,000, meaning the team lost more than 40% of the profits on those sold tickets. The team also began accepting DOGE as an option and, much like bitcoin, saw a significant crash in price after tickets were already sold.