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  • May 28, 2024

Football and Crypto: Do the Two Influence Each Other



Football is, by far, the world’s most popular sport. Three billion fans from across the globe sit down to watch the big-name leagues whenever the time comes. Whether they are interested in national, international, or even local events, one thing is certain; football has managed to capture their hearts and minds, and it will not likely let go.

The history of the game remains a matter of debate. Some claim it is an old sport, dating back to Ancient China. Others believe that its origins can aptly be traced to the 19th century when the Victorians came out with the official rules for the game. What nobody argues is football’s importance to modern, popular culture.

In the same vein, modern popular culture has been shaped by digital technology. The internet, online gaming, social media, and of course, cryptocurrency have all helped to create what many would call “internet culture.” Of the aforementioned categories, what interests us today is cryptocurrency. What it is and how it has impacted the world of football? Let’s find out.

Crypto and Gambling

The digital age has opened the door for what many call “iGaming.” iGaming is simply a catch-all term for all things related to online gambling. The phrase encapsulates sportsbooks, gambling websites, and indeed, crypto casinos. The success of crypto casinos has led to many mainstream online bookies and websites opening their eyes and minds to crypto-based depositing. Which has led to some of the very best casino bonus offers and sportsbook promotional material.

Indeed, cryptocurrency has had a huge impact on the betting world. Due to the peer-to-peer system that governs crypto, any deposit made with Bitcoin, Ether, etc. is nigh-instant. Same-day withdrawals have led many online casinos and sportsbooks to attempt to hasten the withdrawal process for other options as well, leading to faster payouts and a happier customer base.

We see that crypto has definitely had an influence on gambling. But, are there any connections between cryptocurrency and football, specifically? We are going to answer that question further in this article.

Sponsorships

Anyone who has watched a football match will know that football uniforms carry various logos. It doesn’t just end there. Football stadiums and arenas often carry logos of famous companies along the walls. Unsurprisingly, many football arenas have jumped on the crypto bandwagon and formed sponsorship deals with famous cryptocurrencies. Not only that, but a lot of famous clubs have agreed to partner up with and promote popular cryptos.  Let us take a look at a few examples:

  • AC Milan & BitMEX

Anyone who is a fan of the Serie A is probably familiar with AC Milan. One of Italy’s most respected clubs, Milan is currently standing atop of the ongoing Serie A. What many might not be aware of is that, in 2018, AC Milan agreed to sponsor BitMEX.

For the uninitiated, BitMEX is a crypto exchange platform. The goal of the sponsorship was to advocate not just for the company, but also in favour of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech in general. AC Milan’s decision to sponsor a crypto exchange platform opened the gates for many other clubs to follow suit.

  • Tottenham Hotspur and eToro

eToro might just be one of the most popular online brokerage platforms today. They deal in crypto, stocks, and all sorts of assets. What is impressive is that the platform has signed sponsorship deals with numerous football clubs. Most noteworthy of which is Tottenham Hotspur, the English Premier League club that is currently residing at the 3rd rank in the ongoing season.

NFTs, Tokens, and Collectables

Another big aspect of the cryptocurrency market are NFTs, online tokens, and similar collectables. For those who may not know, non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are a form of digital art, which you can purchase, sell, or simply own. They exist on blockchains, and could aptly be described as “art cryptocurrency.”

A lot of football clubs have launched their own NFTs and tokens, and many are, purportedly, looking into doing so in the future. Some of the most popular football leagues in the world feature clubs whose NFTs you can buy right now if that is what you are interested in. However, it is worth mentioning that not all fans are thrilled about non-fungible tokens entering the world of sports. Which brings us to our final point.

Fan Engagement and Controversy

The fact that cryptocurrency has become a mainstream phenomenon is unavoidable. A lot of people are staunchly in favour of it, and they see quite a bit of potential in an all-crypto future. Certainly, cryptocurrency has a lot of benefits, specifically for soccer and sports fans. Some of the pros of the sports industry running on crypto include:

  • Faster payouts when sports betting
  • Direct transactions when purchasing merchandise
  • Peer-to-peer transactions between fans and clubs
  • Better contact between fans and clubs
  • Ultimately, better fan engagement.

However, not all fans are so eager to hop aboard the crypto bandwagon. Indeed, many are staunchly against the idea of NFTs specifically, and some are against cryptocurrency as a whole. Fans complain about the exclusionary nature of cryptocurrency. After all, everybody uses FIAT money and only a select few use cryptocurrency. So, why should most fans be excluded for the benefit of some?

The problem can be easily addressed of course. After all, most clubs don’t cater exclusively to crypto users. There are always options for those who don’t like crypto, and would likely never be interested in it. Most football fans who are not crypto enthusiasts understand this, and have no problem with the industry testing the waters in other markets.

In terms of NFTs, however, the controversy is a lot greater. It is no secret that the NFT market is crashing. The sudden and very rapid decline of non-fungible tokens has got many people convinced that NFTs are a scam. When they see their favourite club promoting tokens, they naturally get a bitter taste in their mouth. This is likely the reason that many football clubs are now doing their best to avoid launching NFTs, or other similar tokens, while still working in tandem with cryptocurrencies, which are far less likely to be accused of nefarious deeds.