Dutch Professional Football Club AZ Alkmaar to Pay Players in Bitcoin
AZ Alkmaar is set to become the first club team in the Netherlands to pay its player salaries in Bitcoin. Sport and crypto continue to see increased intersection as virtual currency businesses try to leverage the former’s fanbase to grow their business interests.
AZ Partners with Bitcoin Meester
On Thursday (July 1, 2021), Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar announced a partnership with Dutch crypto brokerage outfit Bitcoin Meester. The collaboration sees Bitcoin Meester become the club’s cryptocurrency sponsor until mid-2024.
According to the details of the sponsorship deal posted on the club’s website, AZ will keep the proceeds of the partnership as Bitcoin to be held on its balance sheet. The announcement did not however provide specific monetary details of the collaboration.
Apart from holding BTC on its balance sheet, AZ will also play its player salaries in Bitcoin. Crypto salary payments are increasingly becoming popular in the sporting world with teams across franchises like the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Football League (NFL) — both in the United States — electing to pay star athletes in cryptocurrencies.
Commenting on the deal, AZ Alkmaar commercial director Michael Koster remarked:
“The cryptocurrency market is booming, with an exponential growth of users in recent years. That appeals, but it is precisely in a new market that some guidance is important. Not everyone is already well familiar with cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin Meester is able to guide new users in this world in a responsible manner.”
Indeed, Bitcoin Meester is one of the few regulated crypto entities in the Netherlands with the country’s central bank keeping a watchful oversight on the activities of cryptocurrency exchanges and brokerage firms. Some government officials are also known to be anti-crypto and have called for a blanket prohibition on Bitcoin and virtual currencies in general.
Crypto and Sports
From fan tokens to selling tickets using blockchain platforms and even sponsorship deals, crypto and decentralized technology are becoming ubiquitous in the sports industry. Several European football teams have their own fan tokens on the Chilliz and Socios platform.
Back in January, BTCManager reported that the NFL was leading the pack in crypto adoption within sports. Indeed, some notable teams and star athletes have begun accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Major cryptocurrency businesses like Crypto.com and FTX are also securing sponsorship deals and stadium naming rights with global sporting brands.