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The National Football League has greenlighted partnerships between its teams and crypto exchanges under a new raft of regulations. The league is looking at capitalizing on its advertising potential given its popularity, large fan base, and viewership.
Through a memo issued on Tuesday, the NFL has granted limited permission to teams to seek out sponsorship deals with crypto trading firms. The memo comes in the wake of this year’s Super Bowl where the NFL allowed exchanges and crypto traders to buy advertising airtime in the widely televised event. However, teams will not be allowed to directly promote the use of specific digital coins and non-fungible tokens. Teams will also not be allowed to include stadium signage in their adverts
Giant leap right direction
The memo is a giant leap in the right direction given the NFL’s hard stance on its image and reputation. Over the years, the league has jealously guarded its image in what has come to be referred to as ‘protecting the shield’ in reference to the individual club crests used by teams as unique identities.
The communication revealed that the decision was arrived at to “allow promotional relationships without undertaking excessive regulator or brand at risk.” To this end, all sponsorship deals will have to be scrutinized and evaluated by the NFL before permissions are granted.
The move follows relaxed regulations by the NFL on issues such as gambling adverts and partnerships. In 2017, the league allowed liquor companies to buy advertising airtime provided that they promoted safe drinking and social responsibility. In 2019, the league allowed player images and likenesses to be used in promoting liquor companies. The NFL has however remained stringent on controversial topics such as legal marijuana and allied political issues.
Focus on Blockchain applications as opposed to promotion of crypto
While releasing the memo, NFL’s Chief Revenue officer – Brian Rolapp, reiterated that teams would continue to be prohibited from directly promoting cryptocurrency. He added that the focus was on promoting the various applications of the Blockchain technology as opposed to promoting individual digital coins and NFTs. Despite restriction on the promotion of crypto and fan tokens, they can be exchanged for individual club merchandise and other fan experiences.
Weighing into the issue, the NFL’s senior vice president of consumer products added that “we are not promoting cryptocurrency, that’s not part of our policy here. What we’re excited about is the broader applications of blockchain technology.” He also added that sponsorship deals would be capped at three years to allow the league some flexibility.
In conclusion, the softened stance by the NFL is a welcome move. Most sports have wide audiences and viewership which provides an untapped market for crypto and blockchain adverts. This move, if implemented by other sports organizations, will go a long way in increasing liquidity and market volumes of digital assets and in turn promoting use of crypto and blockchain.
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