Dutch football team AZ Alkmaar has announced a partnership with local bitcoin exchange Bitcoin Meester, which will become the team's exclusive and official Bitcoin partner. The exchange will pay part of the contract in bitcoin, which AZ plans to hold on its balance sheet.
"The cryptocurrency market is booming, with an exponential growth of users in recent years," said AZ's commercial director Michael Koster, according to a translated version of the announcement. "That is appealing, but it is precisely in a new market that some guidance is important."
Koster later reiterated how appealing the combination of a market full of opportunities in a "safe environment" is. The partnership's core is apparently to promote bitcoin and Bitcoin Meester services to AZ fans and the broader Dutch population, while providing "guidance" on how to buy, sell, and hold bitcoin.
"Sport, and football in particular, is one of the most important strategic markets for us and we are constantly looking for new opportunities to involve our growing fan base there," said Mitchell Zandwijken, CEO at Bitcoin Meester, per the announcement. "The partnership with AZ is in line with that ambition. Introducing AZ supporters and the rest of the Netherlands to crypto and Bitcoin Meester in an appealing way."
Bitcoin Meester comes in as AZ's new sponsor and official Bitcoin partner after the local exchange signed a contract valid until mid-2024. And part of the sponsorship amount will be paid in bitcoin, since, according to the announcement, both parties "are confident in the future of Bitcoin." Furthermore, AZ has declared that the team will leave all bitcoin received on its balance sheet and hold it at least during the collaboration –– becoming the first Dutch club to do so.
The partnership might also represent an important milestone for furthering Bitcoin adoption in the Netherlands. The country has historically sought to employ rather aggressive measures towards bitcoin, the most recent of which implemented mandatory wallet address verification for users transacting with Dutch exchanges. The law, which was supposedly demanding users to submit either screenshots or undergo video conferencing with the business, has been revoked over a month ago.