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• In response to the mass shooting that occurred in the early hours of August 4, 2019, The Dayton Foundation has established the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund.

• NBC Sports Group and World Rugby today signed a four-year partnership to exclusively present the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series across NBC Sports platforms in the U.S. through 2023. The HSBC Sevens Series was an NBC Sports property from 2010-2016.

• ESPN, X Games and MLB said that four more MLB clubs have joined the Shred Hate initiative, described as a “multi-faceted, innovative bullying prevention program striving to put an end to bullying in schools by encouraging youth to choose kindness.

The Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, New York Yankees and Oakland A’s will “support Shred Hate bullying prevention efforts and have the No Bully methodology implemented within select schools in their markets throughout the 2019-2020 academic year.”

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates are returning to the initiative for a second consecutive year. Other MLB clubs have also been part of the initiative, which launched in 2017.

• The Museum of Ice Cream — a hands-on destination that serves homemade ice cream and offers such activities as cookie carousel to a slide that leads into a pool filled with rainbow sprinkles — will add to its original (2016) San Francisco location with the opening of a second location, in New York City’s Soho (555 Broadway), spanning almost 25,000 square feet over three floors.

• On the same day that Naomi Osaka was named the No. 1 seed for the upcoming U.S. Open, the two-time Grand Slam winner has signed a deal with Hyperice, a recovery and performance technology brand that specializes in vibration and percussion fitness devices. She joins such athletes as Blake Griffin and Lindsey Vonn on the roster. Full story here.
 

• Kellogg's Frosted Flakes has signed a deal to become title sponsor for the renamed Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl.  The postseason CFB game will feature teams from the ACC and Pac-12 in the Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 31, 2019, and will air for the 52nd consecutive year on CBS. The game was known as the Hyundai Bowl from 2010-18.

• The NFL said the Pro Bowl would return to Orlando's Camping Ground Stadium for the fourth successive year, scheduled for Jan. 26, 2020. It will air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and be simulcast on ABC (3 PM ET). Full story here.

• Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, co-founders of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, have launched with The ALS Assn. the 5th anniversary of “Challenge Me” with a “new call to action to reignite the passion and generosity of the millions of people who dumped ice water on their heads in the summer of 2014.”

POLL POSITION

XFL Teams (scheduled to begin play Februty 2020)

• Dallas Renegades
Globe Life Park

• Houston Roughnecks
TDECU Stadium

• Los Angeles Wildcats
Dignity Health Sports Park

• New York Guardians
MetLife Stadium

• St. Louis Battlehawks
The Dome

• Seattle Dragons
CenturyLink Field

• Tampa Bay Vipers
Raymond James Stadium

• Washington DC Defenders
Audi Field

KEEPING SCORE

The 32 men and 32 women who will be seeded in the singles draws at the 2019 U.S. Open (Aug. 26-Sept. 8) have named by the USTA:

U.S. Open Men’s Top Ten Seeds
1. Novak Djokovic, Serbia
2. Rafael Nadal, Spain
3. Roger Federer, Switzerland
4. Dominic Thiem, Austria
5. Daniil Medvedev, Russia
6. Alexander Zverev, Germany
7. Kei Nishikori, Japan
8. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Greece
9. Karen Khachanov, Russia
10. Roberto Bautista Agut, Spain

U.S. Open Women’s Top Ten Seeds
1. Naomi Osaka, Japan
2. Ashleigh Barty, Australia
3. Karolina Pliskova, Czech Republic
4. Simona Halep, Romania
5. Elina Svitolina, Ukraine
6. Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic
7. Kiki Bertens, Netherlands
8. Serena Williams, United States
9. Aryna Sabalenka, Belarus
10. Madison Keys, United States

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office Aug. 23-25
1. Angel Has Fallen $21.3M
2. Good Boys $11.8M
3. Overcomer $8.2M
4. The Lion King $8.2M
5. Hobbs & Shaw $8.1M
6. Ready or Not $7.8M
7. Angry Birds 2 $6.4M
8. Scary Stories $6M
9. Dora and the Lost City of Gold $5.2M
10. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood $5M
Source: Box Office Mojo

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COLLEGE

BodyArmor Into NCAA
No. 1 Colleges Since '92
Notre Dame Builds Brand
Cancer Drives Home
Men's Hoops Are 'Toxic'

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Channel Chasers

NFL UK 2019
• Oct. 6 Chicago Bears v Oakland Raiders Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 13 Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 27  Cincinnati Bengals v Los Angeles Rams Wembley Stadium
• Nov. 3 Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium

NFL Mexico 2019
• Nov. 18 Kansas City  Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Mexico City Estadio Azteca (ESPN Monday Night Football).

Monday
Jul212014

Q&A: How BitPay is Taking Bitcoin To The Sports, Entertainment Marketing Bank

By Barry Janoff

July 21, 2014: This past December, a student appeared in the background crowd shot during a broadcast of ESPN's weekly College GameDay holding up a sign that requested financial assistance from his parents.

However, in place of the traditional dollar amount he needed, the sign read, "Mom please send . . ." followed by a logo for digital currency bitcoin and a QR code to his personal bitcoin account. Over the next weeks, the kid received in his account more than $23,000 in bitcoin currency. It was not disclosed how much of that came from his family and how much from the public-at-large.

That incident helped to give credence to a strategy that had already been initiated by the executives at BitPay, an Atlanta-based firm that processes bitcoin transactions for firms and individuals.

In June, BitPay signed a deal with ESPN Events and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Bowl Committee to become title sponsor of the annual post-season college football game previously known as the Beef O'Brady's Bowl and what for the next three seasons will be the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl, to be played in December in Tropicana Field. This week, BitPay signed a multi-year pact, brokered by IMG College, to become the sponsor for the football and basketball programs at Georgia Tech.

IMG College said that the deal was paid for using bitcoins, although the financial details were not disclosed.

Not by coincidence, Tony Gallippi, BitPay's chairman and co-founder, and Stephen Pair, co-founder and CEO, are both graduates of Georgia Tech.

BitPay said it is working to make the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl a "full bitcoin experience" by expanding the use of bitcoins prior to and during the game, in Tropicana Field and among merchants throughout the Tampa-St. Petersburg area.

The moves enhance a strategy of reaching a target audience of "young tech-savvy males" by aligning BitPay with sports that began in February when the firm signed a deal with the NBA's Sacramento Kings. This past season, the team enabled fans to use bitcoins to pay for tickets, merchandise in the Kings Team Store and items at concession stands in Sleep Train Arena. A Kings' bitcoin Web destination allows consumers to purchase team gear online.

Other teams and leagues either use or are considering the use of bitcoins. The San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer this season, via San Francisco-based Coinbase Inc., brought bitcoin processing to Buck Shaw Stadium.

BitPay said it not only plans to expand its alliance with the Kings this season but has been in contact with other leagues and teams to include bitcoin payment as part of their plans.

The strategy is not limited to sports, In June, BitPay was assigned to processes the account for rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson that accepts bitcoins as payment for his just-released album, Animal Ambition. And during the The North American Bitcoin Conference in Chicago (July 18-20), which featured Gallippi and other industry leaders from across the bitcoin community, a kickoff party in the House of Blues was sponsored by BitPay.

Bitcoin technology was unveiled about five years ago and is currently used by about 1% of the U.S. population, according to industry analysts. Expedia, Dish Network, Dell and Overstock.com are among the companies that accept bitcoin as payment.

NYSportsJournalism spoke with Stephanie Wargo, vp-marketing for BitPay, about the company's marketing and financial strategies regarding sports and entertainment and how they are helping bitcoins to go mainstream.

NYSportsJournalism.com: What are the biggest challenges facing BitPay and bitcoin itself?

Stephanie Wargo: On both points, it's about educating people and getting them to know what it is, what it does and what the benefits are. Bitcoin is the equivalent to the coins or dollars you have in your pocket. Then there are companies built on top of the bitcoin network that process accounts. Similar to Google and Yahoo!, which sit in the Internet. BitPay is one of the leading companies in the bitcoin network. So the challenge there is getting people to know who we are and what we do, and helping to expand the use of bitcoins through our company and the network.

NYSJ: How difficult has that been?

SW: It has become a bit easier. The initial users are tech-savvy and willing to acclimate to a new system such as bitcoins. They may not be using it all the time, but they understand it, support the places that accept bitcoins and are able to drive education and usage to others. They get it. Overall, merchant acceptance has been a bit easier than mass-market acceptance at this point.

NYSJ: What is the demographic at this point?

SW: It tends to be young, male, tech-savvy and well-educated. Think about the early users of the Internet and e-mail. It tends to be the same demographic. There is a great synergy there between who we are and what services we are providing and who they are and what they are looking for. So we can speak to them and reach them without going through a lot of explanation and demonstration. That community knows bitcoin inside and out.

NYSJ: BitPay has an alliance with the NBA's Sacramento Kings and recently signed a three-year deal with ESPN Events for title sponsorship to the college football Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. (Editor's note: The deal with Georgia Tech was unveiled after this interview was conducted.) Why are these sports deals part of your strategy?

SW: This really supports our strategy of reaching our target demo and also helps to get BitPay into a mainstream conversation. We had been in contact with several teams. But the Kings actually came to us. They had done their research on bitcoin. They approached us at the CES Show this past January. Their [majority] owner, Vivek Ranadivé, is very tech-savvy. He is constantly looking for innovations for the team and its fans (via a business philosophy he calls "NBA 3.0,"  to make investments in technology, globalization and community partnerships).

"The strategy to call it the Bitcoin Bowl was to have other members of the bitcoin community  . . . come in and showcase what they do as part of the network."

NYSJ: Is that what led to working with ESPN Events to acquire naming rights to what was then the Beef O'Brady Bowl in Tropicana FIeld in St. Petersburg?

SW: We started to work with the Kings [in February], which was our first official sports alliance. But even before that happened, Tony Gallippi talked about possibly doing a college football bowl game. This was around the time that kid was shown on ESPN holding up a sign asking his mom to send bitcoins to his account. He received something like $23,000 (in bitcoin value). The first time Tony said we should be involved in a bowl game I kind of ignored it. When he mentioned it again, I said I would do some research. If we did become associated with a college football bowl game, I wanted to make sure we would be able to have BitPay involved in the entire ticket payment process and have the potential for bitcoins used for tickets, travel, merchandise and items at the concession stands. Ultimately, we were able to work out a deal with ESPN and the St. Petersburg Bowl Committee.

NYSJ: Why call it the Bitcoin Bowl instead of the BitPay Bowl?

SW: That was definitely a big part of the conversation. Ultimately, the strategy was to call it the Bitcoin Bowl in order to have other members of the bitcoin community be part of it. This allows those companies to come in and showcase what they do as part of the bitcoin network.

NYSJ: What are some of your plans for the Bitcoin Bowl as far as engaging the local community and also engaging viewers on ESPN?

SW: We plan to have a massive bitcoin undertaking, driven by BitPay. A full-fledged bitcoin rollout, if you will. As Tony has said, our goal is to establish a system so that someone could plan their entire Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl experience using only bitcoin, to pay for travel, hotel, tickets, hot dogs, meals, T-shirts and other merchandise with bitcoin. We will make several visits there between now and the actual game to to work with the St. Petersburg Bowl Committee and the local businesses to help establish a bitcoin system. Setting up iPads and tablets and downloading apps to their phones.

NYSJ: It seems as if college students, and not just those into football bowl games, would be a great target audience supported by this game.

SW: Certainly. We will extend into our message and education to the university students, the educators and the parents of the students. Students are certainly early adaptors and they are ready and willing to share their use and knowledge of bitcoin. You will see us become more involved in college sports and the surround communities.

NYSJ: How did the first season with the Kings work out?

SW: This past season, the Kings begun to accept bitcoins for team merchandise and tickets. They told us that they loved the bitcoin system and the way in which it worked. It goes back to the fact that they are very forward thinking when it comes to technology. They have been very happy with our alliance and we plan to expand our relationship with them in 2014-15.

NYSJ: Have you now heard from other leagues and teams?

SW: We already had been reaching out to other [sports franchises]. It was pretty crazy here after we announced the naming rights deal, but crazy in a good way. We have heard from pretty much every sports organization: basketball, hockey, football, college football, golf, auto racing, sports arenas and stadiums, and from specific teams and organizations. I can't talk about specific deals that we might have in progress or that we are working on, but I can say that working with the Kings and now with ESPN has pretty much raised our profile in the sports category.

NYSJ: Do you foresee athlete endorsements as BitPay and bitcoin marketing efforts become established?

SW: I don't see that right now, but we do know of athletes and entertainers who use bitcoin. 50 Cent said he would accept bitcoins as payment for his new album (Animal Ambition). Although he is not an official endorser, BitPay is handling the transactions and we are pretty excited about it and the potential for the future in the entertainment category.

NYSJ: What are BitPay's plans for the coming years?

SW: As bitcoin continues to grow you look at the adoption curve. Basically, bitcoin the network is like the Internet and e-mail in 1994. So from an adoption standpoint, we have to continue to educate, build and get more people to understand how this works and what the benefits are. In that context, we want to get over the 2002 hump where everyone was on the Internet, everyone had access to it and everyone understood it. Because of the demographic of the initial bitcoin user, and its mass-market appeal across all ages, genders and race, sports and entertainment is a good way to do that.

BitPay Signs Deal For College Football Bowl Naming Rights

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