SJ Quakes becomes first professional sports franchise to accept Bitcoin

Starting May 25, soccer fans will be able to use Bitcoin to not only buytickets but also fan gear and refreshments such as beer and hot dogs at the San Jose Earthquakes’ Buck Shawstadium when they host Houston Dynamo on Sunday.

Just a stone’s throw away from Silicon Valley, the ‘Quakes’ are positioningthemselves as innovators in their own right. The San Jose soccer club has teamedup with the San Francisco-based digital wallet and payment processor, Coinbase, to become the first professionalsports team to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment for tickets, merchandise andconcessions.

The club president, Dave Kaval said:

"In the spirit of Silicon Valley,the Earthquakes are constantly looking for ways to innovate. Coinbase's Bitcoinpayment processor adds another cutting edge payment option that furtherstreamlines the commerce experience for fans."

Coinbase, which recently announcedthat they will be giving $10 worth of Bitcoin to students who create anaccount, is one of the most established platforms in the Bitcoin economy, whichserves over 30,000 merchants worldwide and processesover US$15 million worth of bitcoins monthly.

For those wanting to take advantage of the new payment option to buy a coldbeer, for example, fans must have a Bitcoin wallet installed on their mobiledevice. Bitcoins will be accepted by the ‘Quakes’ at the ticket gate, the fanstore, and the concession stand where tablets running the Coinbase Merchant appwill be able to scan your QR-code and process the transaction.

Moreover, since the new Bitcoin payment system is entirely software-based, theprocess of migrating and implementing it at the Earthquakes' new stadium should becompletely seamless when it is expected to open next year.

It will also be interesting to see if other sports teams such the cross-townSan Jose Sharks will follow suit but offering fans another payment optioncertainly won’t hurt sales and may prove to be a boon for business.  

Earlier this year, another California-based sports team, the Sacramento Kings, announced that they will accept Bitcoin for merchandise and tickets at their online store via BitPay.