NFL loosens rules around crypto company sponsorships: report

The NFL will now allow teams to seek sponsorships with blockchain companies, but wider restrictions regarding cryptocurrencies that can be exchanged for merchandise or experiences remain, according to a memo obtained by CNBC.

After completing an evaluation of the technology, the league stated it will allow “promotional relationships without undertaking excessive regulator or brand risk” according to the memo. “In this evolving regulatory environment, it remains essential that we proceed carefully when evaluating potential commercial opportunities involving blockchain technologies, and conduct appropriate diligence on all potential partners and their business models.”

Recently, the NFL and players union made a deal with Dapper Labs to create digital video collectibles.  

Overall, the NFL spent over $600,000 lobbying the SEC and various government agencies on blockchain technology, according to some reports.  There weren’t details provided of the efforts, but the NFL was trying to determine if crypto can be a part of the league’s overall business, which brings in about $10 billion in annual revenue, according to CNBC.

Today’s memo also grants limited permissions on NFTs. “Subject to League approval, Clubs may now accept advertising (without use of club marks and logos, unless in connection with a League NFT deal) for NFTs and NFT companies,” the memo reads. But the league won’t allow “engaging in product licensing arrangements or sponsorships for NFTs or NFT companies (other than as permitted in connection with League-level NFT partnerships),” it reads.

Some individual players are already invested in the world of crypto. NFL star Tom Brady’s Autograph, an NFT platform, raised $170 million in January. Rob Gronkowski has also created limited edition NFTs.

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