For the first time, a crypto exchange is partnering with an NFL team in a long-term, exclusive relationship that could bring further exposure of digital assets to mainstream audiences.
The partnership between Blockchain.com and the Dallas Cowboys was announced on Wednesday at the NFL team’s headquarters in Frisco, Texas, by Jerry Jones, the football team’s owner, president and general manager, alongside Peter Smith, Blockchain.com’s co-founder and CEO. NFL rules prevented the price or deal length from being disclosed, according to Brooks Wallace, head of communications at Blockchain.com.
This is the first national professional sports deal for the crypto company, which has been around since 2011 and will include branding, advertising, content and event opportunities. However, it will not include naming rights to the Cowboys’ stadium, which will remain AT&T Stadium.
Its stadium holds 80,000 people at capacity and will be adding a QR code on every seat that will link to the Cowboys’ website and highlight Blockchain.com’s wallet so fans can learn more about crypto, Wallace said.
“The Cowboys have built one of the most valuable and treasured brands in America, and one of the reasons we wanted to partner with them is to collaborate on building our brand together,” Smith told TechCrunch. “We’re primarily technology people, not brand people, so learning from the best is something we’re really excited about.”
Millions of Cowboys fans are going to learn about crypto this football season, Smith said. “The Thanksgiving Day game is the most-watched [Cowboys’] TV game and we’ll be there this Thanksgiving Day game.”
In addition, the partnership will provide Cowboys fans with the ability to engage both IRL and online through social media promotions on Blockchain.com’s wallet. The offers range from away-game VIP trips to player-hosted events, it said. The partnership also aims to educate fans on digital assets and will host an educational summit for people to learn more.
“They are bringing Wall Street to Main Street by making digital assets available to anyone, anywhere in the world — and that’s a touchdown for our millions of global fans,” Jones said in a statement.
This partnership comes a few weeks after the NFL announced on March 22 that teams would no longer be forbidden from sponsorship contracts with blockchain-based exchanges or wallet companies. Individual clubs, however, are limited in signing licensing deals for NFTs and can only put out the digital collectibles “as permitted in connection with League-level NFT partnerships.”
“The League has identified certain blockchain-related businesses that we believe may be engaged for League and club promotional relationships without undertaking excessive regulatory or brand risk,” three league executives wrote in the memo last month, “provided that the companies in question and the specific products being promoted have been properly vetted.”
Regardless of the NFL’s rules, professional players — like Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who partnered with crypto exchange FTX — are still getting into crypto deals off of the field.
“I think you will see a few NFL [and crypto] deals follow,” Smith said. “This will be the first of many NFL deals.”
Blockchain.com plans to work closely with the Cowboys and NFL to expand the use of crypto over time in the stadium experience and online fan experience, Smith noted. “We’ll start small then expand it over time over the next few years.”
Crypto in sports
Partnerships and deals with sports teams aren’t a new concept, but crypto-related ones have been ramping up in the past year.
Outside of the NFL, there has been a major influx of crypto companies joining forces with U.S. professional sports teams and players in the past 12 months.