Tue. May 17th, 2022
The NFL will allow teams to seek blockchain partnerships but keeps ban on cryptocurrency promotions in place, report says
  • The NFL will allow teams to seek blockchain partnerships on a limited basis, CNBC reported Tuesday. 
  • The league held onto restrictions for specific cryptocurrencies and fan tokens. 
  • The NFL will hold annual meetings starting Saturday, and team owners will be updated on the blockchain rule changes. 

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The National Football League will allow teams to pursue blockchain sponsorships in a limited way, CNBC reported Tuesday, with the partial change in rules taking place during a time of growing investment in the technology. 

The league decided it will allow “promotional relationships without undertaking excessive regulator or brand risk” after evaluating the technology, according to a memo obtained by CNBC. Permissions are subject to the league’s approval, and stadium signage is excluded. 

But the NFL kept in place restrictions for specific cryptocurrencies and fan tokens, which can be exchanged for merchandise and experiences. Teams cannot directly promote cryptocurrencies, said the memo issued by NFL Chief Revenue Officer Renie Anderson and Chief Media Business Officer Brian Rolapp. 

Blockchain technology works as a digital ledger and is used for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether as well as for certification of virtual collectibles like nonfungible tokens, or NFTs. The memo granted teams limited permissions on NFTs. 

The NFL will hold annual meetings starting Saturday in Florida, and team owners will be updated on, among other things, the blockchain rule changes. But the league has already made key moves in the emerging space.

Blockchain company Dapper Labs in September reached a deal with the NFL and the players union to produce video collectibles. In November, the NFL granted NFT trading card rights to collectibles company Panini. And the NFL approved media partners to allow blockchain ads during its games in the 2021 season, the report said. 

The NFL’s latest move reported Tuesday comes after the football league has been lobbying in Washington on issues related to blockchain tech. The NFL lobbied the Securities and Exchange Commission from July through December 2021, CNBC recently reported, and has lobbied the White House along with the Justice and Commerce departments.

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