The NFL will allow teams to seek blockchain sponsorship

Soccer ball with NFL logo

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The National Football League in a note released on Tuesday gave teams limited permission to seek sponsorship with the blockchain, which has been partially repealed since late last summer as the technology grows in popularity among fans and athletes of the organization.

The league said it decided to allow “advertising relationships without excessive regulator or brand risk” after completing the technology assessment. Updated team instructions subject to NFL approval exclude signs at the stadium. Currently, restrictions remain in place for certain cryptocurrencies and fan tokens that can be exchanged for goods and experiences.

“Clubs will still be banned from directly promoting cryptocurrencies,” the note said.

The NFL decision was also made after a recent lobbying push related to the blockchain. CNBC reported in February that the league had lobbied the Securities and Exchange Commission on “blockchain-related issues” from July to December 2021. The NFL also lobbied the White House and the Departments of Justice and Commerce.

“In this evolving regulatory environment, it is important that we carefully assess the potential commercial opportunities associated with blockchain technologies and conduct due diligence on all potential partners and their business models,” the note said.

The memo appears a few days before the NFL’s annual meetings, which begin Saturday in Florida. The league will inform team owners about business initiatives, including revised blockchain principles. This is the first time the NFL will hold meetings in person since 2019 due to the Covid pandemic.

CNBC received a copy of a memo issued by NFL Chief Revenue Officer Renee Anderson and Director of Media and Business Brian Rolap. The update comes after the NFL and players ’union struck a deal with blockchain company Dapper Labs to produce video collectibles. Panini is eligible for the NFT League Trading Card. In addition, the NFL has allowed media partners for the first time during the 2021 season to allow blockchain advertising during games.

Joe Ruger, head of the NFL’s consumer goods division, told CNBC that the team’s deals with blockchain companies would not exceed three years, “so it gives us flexibility in the long run”. Ruger added that the NFL could also market its official blockchain rights.

It is unclear how much the NFL will pursue. Earlier, CNBC reported that the National Basketball Association had struck a deal with Coinbase worth $ 192 million over four years. Similarly, FTX’s $ 10 million cryptocurrency platform deal with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors could be a blueprint for potential deals between blockchain-related companies and NFL teams under a recently released guide.

“We are very focused on blockchain technology,” Ruger said. “We believe that it has great potential to really shape innovation, to shape the interaction of supporters over the next decade.”

Blockchain technology serves as a digital book-like and is used for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. It also effectively provides virtual collectibles such as irreplaceable tokens or NFT, unique certificates of authenticity that cannot be hacked. The memo on Tuesday also gave teams limited permits for NFT.

Monitors display Coinbase signs during the company’s initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City on Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

“With the approval of the League, clubs can now accept advertising (without the use of club signs and logos, except in connection with the NFT League deal) for NFT and NFT companies,” the note said. However, the league will continue to prohibit teams from “participating in product licensing or sponsorship agreements for NFT or NFT companies (other than those permitted in connection with NFT partnerships at the League level),” he adds.

NFL stars such as Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have earned in the NFT blockchain market. According to Bloomberg, the NFT platform Brady Autograph raised $ 170 million in January.

E-commerce giant Fanatics, co-owned by the NFL, has invested in NFT Candy Digital. This firm was launched in 2021 and blocked the NFT rights of the Major League Baseball. In October, CNBC reported that Candy Digital was valued at $ 1.5 billion after a raise from investors, including NFL legend Peyton Manning.

Ruger said the NFL would continue to evaluate the remaining restrictions on blockchain-related technology.

“Everything is changing so fast – we all need to look at the next areas of innovation,” he said. “So we spend a lot of time looking for where the future might go.”

The NFL will allow teams to seek blockchain sponsorship

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