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San Jose Sharks first NHL team to accept cryptocurrency

Initiative with BitPay includes season tickets, hospitality boxes and sponsorship deals.

8 June 2021 Ed Dixon
  • Sharks will accept cryptocurrency for large or recurring payments
  • Franchise also considering crypto payment option across wider business, including online merchandise sales
  • Smaller purchases such as food and drink to be reviewed at a later date

The San Jose Sharks will become the first National Hockey League (NHL) team to accept cryptocurrency after franchise owner Sharks Sports & Entertainment gave the green light for the alternative payment method.

From next season the Sharks will accept cryptocurrency for large or recurring payments, such as season tickets, hospitality boxes at their SAP Center home and sponsorship deals.

The franchise is working with Atlanta-based payment processor BitPay for the rollout, which will accept Bitcoin, Dogecoin and Ethereum, among others.

The Sharks are also considering integrating a cryptocurrency payment option across their wider commercial business, including on the team’s app for purchases at SAP Center, online merchandise sales at the Sharks store and point of sale at the arena.

The use of cryptocurrency for smaller purchases, such as single tickets or food and beverage, will be reviewed by the Sharks in the future. The franchise has already been accepting payments via PayPal, which has allowed cryptocurrency spending since last October.

“We're accepting PayPal, so then by definition, we're accepting cryptocurrency. Why not embrace it and make it more visible as opposed to just doing it through a third party?,” Sharks president Jonathan Becher told Sports Business Journal (SBJ).

The Sharks join a growing number of sports teams, particularly in the US, accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment, including the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Sacramento Kings and Dallas Mavericks.

In addition, March saw cryptocurrency exchange FTX acquire naming rights to the Miami Heat’s home arena in a 19-year deal worth a reported US$135 million.

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