Professional athletes have a relatively short career playing sport, living most of their life off earnings made off the field, which is why commercializing their Name, Image and Likeness (‘NIL’) is important. Athletes have traditionally been commercializing their NIL via endorsement deals and sponsorships by advertising products or becoming brand ambassadors, while as of late, athletes may also commercialize their NIL through the use of NFTs.
Money Smart Athlete Blog
Blockchain technology and Cryptos
Athletes’ careers can span anywhere from five to twenty years, making the pursuit of other streams of wealth amongst the most important aspects of an athlete’s road to financial freedom. It is therefore important for athletes, and their wealth managers, to be well informed of the investment assets that are available, as well as the risks and benefits accompanied by each group of assets.
On one hand, you have the narrative of a revolution led by young people, computer science geeks and perhaps some charlatans as well, who seek to redefine the matrix of our financial system and who see blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies as the future. On the other hand, we have the traditional investors and hedge fund people who dismiss cryptocurrencies as attempts to subvert political systems along with national currencies, and label them as the next great bubble. In a sense, both are right. Cryptos are the offspring of the two previous financial crises. The dot-com bubble with overspeculation in tech and the Great Recession which eroded trust in financial institutions and “the system”. In short, yes; cryptos are here to stay, but the explanation is much more complicated.
With numerous sports teams now accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment as well as professional athletes accepting it as part of their salary or sponsorship; crypto investment interest has increased significantly among the sports industry. The first team to accept Bitcoin were the Sacramento Kings, whilst the Dallas Mavericks accept Bitcoin as game tickets payment. Furthermore, crypto firms are steadily becoming major sponsors in the sports field with examples such as BitPay being an ESPN sponsor in 2014, and Cashbet being Arsenal Soccer Club’s official partner. Some of the most high-profile athletes are openly joining cryptocurrency sponsorships such as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Russel Okung, of the Carolina Panthers, is paid half of his salary in Bitcoin, whilst Kansas City Chief’s Sean Culkin chose to convert his entire salary to Bitcoin.