Sharks to set NHL first with cryptocurrency trial

The San Jose Sharks are set to become the first NHL ice hockey team to accept cryptocurrency for large and recurring payments.

Sharks Sports & Entertainment, the team’s parent company, told The Mercury News that an initial experiment will see cryptocurrency accepted for season ticket purchases, luxury box leases, and sponsorship deals – from June 15.

Sharks president Jonathan Becher said the prospect of the trial being widened for smaller purchases such as single game tickets, food and beverage, and merchandise, will be reviewed in the future. The Sharks will work with payment processor BitPay, which accepts Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Ethereum among its payment options.

Becher said the trial follows on from the Sharks already accepting PayPal, which started to embrace cryptocurrency last year. “We’re accepting PayPal, so then by definition, we’re accepting cryptocurrency,” he added. “Why not embrace it and make it more visible as opposed to just doing it through a third party?”

The Sharks welcomed fans back to their SAP Center arena for the first time in over a year on April 28. Concerts have started to be scheduled at the venue from August, with the new NHL season set to commence on October 12.

The Oakland Athletics last month continued their engagement with cryptocurrency by becoming the first Major League Baseball (MLB) team to sell tickets in exchange for Dogecoin. The A’s announced that they would once again offer fans the chance to purchase game tickets at RingCentral Coliseum using cryptocurrency. Fans were offered a two-seat pod in the Plaza Infield for 100 Dogecoin for the May 3-6 series versus the Toronto Blue Jays. 

Earlier this year, the A’s made full-season suites available for one Bitcoin, becoming the first MLB team to price a ticket offering in cryptocurrency. In March, NBA basketball team the Dallas Mavericks said they had become the first US professional sports team to accept Dogecoin for online tickets and merchandise purchases.

In August 2019, the Mavericks began accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment for its game tickets and merchandise. The franchise became the second team in the league to use Bitcoin, after the Sacramento Kings began accepting the cryptocurrency in 2014.

Image: Travis Wise/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size