A U.K. Premier League football club (sorry, U.S. readers — the original football) will now be sporting the Bitcoin logo out on the pitch.
Watford F.C., a professional football team from Watford, Hertfordshire, announced today, September 12, 2019, that it has added the Bitcoin logo to the left sleeves of its players’ uniforms. According to a blog post shared by Watford, popular bitcoin betting site Sportsbet.io is sponsoring the logo placement on behalf of the Bitcoin community.
“The crypto community have been hugely supportive of us since we began, so putting the Bitcoin logo on the sleeve felt like a fun way to give something back while also showing them our support,” Justin Le Brocque, head of marketing at Sportsbet.io, said in the announcement.
For its part, Watford echoes Sportsbet.io’s message that the logo placement could galvanize the Bitcoin community.
“Placing the Bitcoin logo on a Premier League shirt is something that challenges the accepted norm,” Scott Duxbury, Watford’s chairman and CEO said. “We’re excited about the partnerships and the potential for new global conversations that it could help start for our club.”
The idea to emblazon Bitcoin’s logo on the team’s jerseys sprang from Sportsbet.io’s negotiations to sponsor the front of Watford’s uniforms. During the discussion, Watford mentioned that sleeved logos have historically been powerful tools for promoting brand awareness. This gave Sportsbet.io the idea.
“We spoke at length about the engagement levels that Premier League clubs drive and the media values that other assets (such as the sleeve) have historically generated for brands on a global basis. Sportsbet.io realized that it would be an opportunity to use a sponsorship asset in an innovative way to improve people’s understanding of Bitcoin and the benefits of associated technologies,” Spencer Field, Watford’s global strategy and partnership director, told Bitcoin Magazine.
In bringing Bitcoin to the biggest stage in U.K. football, Sportsbet.io hopes the sponsorship will promote awareness and education and bust common myths that plague Bitcoin’s reputation. For Watford, which Field described as “a forward thinking club,” the prospect of being a trailblazer in a burgeoning industry was too appealing to pass up.
Bitcoin Payment Option in the Works?
The sponsorship will be partly crowdfunded and open to the Bitcoin community’s contributions. This means that “Bitcoin holders will be able to use there coins to share in the rights that Sportsbet.io has been granted as part of the sponsorship package,” Field explained. Co-sponsors will then be entitled to exclusive merchandise, access to box seats during matches and opportunities to bid on LED advertising space on the pitch’s sidelines.
Sportsbet.io is also pledgeding 2 mBTC (0.002 BTC in total) to all new Sportsbet.io profiles if Watford wins their match against Arsenal on September 15, 2019.
The move, unconventional to say the least, actually plays to the interest of some of Watford’s fanbase. Field told us that the club’s fan forums has a lengthy and ongoing cryptocurrency discussion and “that there is a growing interest from those [we] would class as ‘non-bitcoin’ in that they don’t actually own any of the currency.”
Just a day into the partnership, Field continued, it seems to be having the intended effect of catching the attention of those who normally wouldn’t give Bitcoin the time of day.
“Once you filter out the usual ‘Twitter noise,’ I think it’s fair to say that it has piqued our fans’ curiosity as it is definitely different to a normal partnership,” he said.
Speaking of Twitter noise, in Watford’s tweet announcing the partnership, our dear friend and sometimes community mascot, Hodlonaut, asked when he can use bitcoin to buy Watford tickets and merch. Well, if the club has its way, that could come sooner rather than later.
“We hope to be able to accept Bitcoin payments across the business in due course so that we can take a lead in a space that is likely to continue to grow,” Field said.