The Sacramento Kings plan to offer bitcoin as a payment option to all players and coaches, the team’s owner, Vivek Ranadivé, said Monday night, in the most recent example of the NBA’s rush to embrace cryptocurrency and digital assets.
According to Coindesk, Ranadivé broke the news on a Clubhouse hosted by venture capitalist Tim Draper, explaining the team is scheduled to make a formal announcement later this week.
The Kings would be the first major professional sports franchise in the United States to offer payment in cryptocurrency.
Ranadivé said that all team staff, including the players, will be able to “get paid as much of their salary in bitcoin as they want.”
The National Basketball Association has been out in front of other pro sports leagues on several issues, from sports gambling to NFTs, and cryptocurrency is certainly no exception, thanks largely to the Kings owner. Back in 2014, shortly after Ranadivé purchased the club, Sacramento announced it would become the first major professional sports franchise to accept bitcoin in exchange for team merchandise or tickets. In 2019, the Dallas Mavericks, owned by Mark Cuban, also began accepting bitcoin as a payment method. Last month, Cuban announced the Mavs would become the first pro team to accept dogecoin. NBA Top Shot, a blockchain-based platform on which users buy and sell officially licensed NBA collectible highlights known as “Moments,” has generated nearly $500 million in sales since going live less than eight months ago—with more than $180 million of that total processed in the past month. This year, six NBA owners formed a Blockchain Advisory Subcommittee to advise the league on how to best utilize crypto and other digital assets.
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Monumental Sports & Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis, who owns the NBA’s Washington Wizards franchise, told Forbes last month he believes digital ticketing will be a crucial component of the league’s revenue growth going forward. “Our key driver has to be anything that’s bricks and mortar left, anything that’s paper left, anything that’s cotton merchandise left, how do we make that digital?” Leonsis said blockchain-based ticketing would benefit the league and create multiples of value. “If tickets were digital memories and could be sold everywhere, not just to people in Maryland or D.C., you could say there are 15,000 digital moment tickets,” Leonsis stated. “The blockchain, which is what everyone is excited about, creates ongoing, recurring revenues.”
$135 million. That’s the amount cryptocurrency exchange FTX paid to secure the naming rights to the home arena of the NBA’s Miami Heat.