When I first heard about the Bitcoin Bowl, I assumed it was a joke, or maybe a weird startup publicity stunt. It turns out that yes, the Bitcoin Bowl is promoting BitPay, a bitcoin-processing startup — but it’s also real college football game that’s underway as I write this on Friday evening.
Yes, one day you’ll be able to tell your kids about the very first bitcoin-sponsored football game. And I’m guessing they’ll just roll their eyes at you, either because this kind of thing has become ubiquitous, or because they have no freaking idea what bitcoin is.
Anyway, here in the present, I’ve been following some of the conversation around the game via the #bitcoinbowl hashtag, which presents a nice mix of sports commentary and bitcoin jokes. I also checked out the official website for, ahem, the “Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl,” which mostly looks like your run-of-the-mill college football website, while also featuring videos explaining both bitcoin and Bitpay.
The aim, presumably, is to introduce a mainstream audience to bitcoin, but I like the idea that the reverse could be true, with at least handful of bitcoin fans checking out college football for the first time. See, for example, this post on bitcoin news website Coin Telegraph that explains the game to people who are watching even though they “don’t know anything about the teams and players.” (Personally, I’m mystified by both bitcoin and football, so I’m sitting this one out.)
This is the first bitcoin-related sponsorship of a televised U.S. sporting event, but as The Wall Street Journal noted when the four-year deal with ESPN Events was announced in June, Dogecoin sponsored a NASCAR event earlier this year.
Maybe it’s just me, but I think there’s something inherently giggle-inducing about the phrase Bitcoin Bowl — but no more so than the game’s previous moniker, “Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.” Anyway, it looks like BitPay (which I hear has great taste in event sponsorships) succeeded in getting people talking.