Dutch football team AZ Alkmaar to hold Bitcoin on balance sheet

The club has partnered with crypto broker Bitcoin Meester in an exclusive three-year partnership deal

Professional Dutch football team AZ Alkmaar and Bitcoin Meester have inked an official and exclusive partnership that will see AZ become the first Dutch team to hold Bitcoin on their balance sheet and potentially pay player salaries in BTC.

In the announcement, AZ Alkmaar, who finished third in the 2020–21 Eredivisie season, said that they are “confident in the future of Bitcoin”  and confirmed that part of the sponsorship amount will be paid in Bitcoin. The sum will then be left on the balance sheet during their partnership. 

It’s unclear whether player salaries will be paid in Bitcoin, as the announcement only outlined the initial sponsorship amount. However, due to the growing trend of players being paid in Bitcoin spreading across various sports including the NFL and NBA, the deal may indicate that AZ intends to pay players in BTC for the upcoming season.

AZ’s Commercial Director Michael Koster spoke of the deal, saying: “The cryptocurrency market is booming, with an exponential growth of users in recent years. That is appealing, but it is precisely in a new market that some guidance is important. Not everyone is already well-acquainted with cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin Meester is able to guide new users in this world in a responsible manner.”

Bitcoin Meester will become the exclusive and official Cryptocurrency Partner of AZ. The exchange is a regulated crypto provider registered with De Nederlandsche Bank and is a leading exchange provider in the Netherlands. Users can buy, sell and store various cryptocurrencies on the platform.

Bitcoin Meester is one of the few regulated crypto companies in the Netherlands. The Dutch central bank has recently focused on the activities of cryptocurrency-based firms, with some government officials known to be against crypto adaptation and calling for greater restrictions on Bitcoin and other assets.

Mitchell Zandwijken, CEO at Bitcoin Meester, said “Sport, and football in particular, is one of the most important strategic markets for us and we are constantly looking for new opportunities to involve our growing ‘fan base’ there. The partnership with AZ is in line with that ambition.”

The rise of crypto adaptation in football seems to be growing at a rapid pace, with teams announcing new sponsorships and platforms on a regular basis. Recently, AntChain, a Chinese Blockchain platform, announced a partnership deal with UEFA to become the official global blockchain partner of UEFA Euro 2020. Leading European football teams have also been releasing their own fan tokens on the Socios platform.

Other sports are getting in on the action too, including motorsport giants Nascar and Formula One. Leading cryptocurrency exchanges like FTX are also securing sponsorship deals and stadium naming rights with leading MLB and NBA teams.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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