Bitcoin’s march into mainstream American culture turned into a giant leap on Thursday, with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings announcement that it will soon accept the virtual currency as payment for game tickets and team merchandise. It is the first professional sports team in the US to accept Bitcoin.
“We are maniacally focused on creating the most seamless experience for our fans in all facets,” Vivek Ranadivé, the Kings’ owner, said in a statement to the press. “A major tenet of the NBA 3.0 philosophy is about utilizing technology for the betterment of the fan experience, and this is another step in that process.”
Kings President Chris Granger explained the decision to jump on the Bitcoin bandwagon further, saying in a statement that the team “has a growing number of tech-oriented fans and we think [Bitcoins are] yet another way to make the experience for those fans more seamless and hassle free.”
Ranadivé has a history in the world of tech, as founder of Silicon Valley-based business intelligence software firm Tibco. ESPN reporter Darren Rovell says Ranadivé is also experimenting with coaches using Google Glass during games.
Purchases made using Bitcoin for Kings tickets and gear will be processed by BitPay, which earlier this week launched the Bitcoin Payroll API to allow employers to easily pay their full-time employees in the digital currency.
Thousands of businesses now accept Bitcoin, which has a current market cap of about $10.3 billion. A single Bitcoin is trading at just under $850, though it’s possible to purchase Bitcoin in extremely small denominations. If you’re new to Bitcoin, learn more here. The Kings will officially begin accepting Bitcoin on March 1.
[Image via CBS Chicago]