In a memo released Tuesday, the National Football League in the U.S. announced that it would lift its ban on crypto- and blockchain-related advertising, marketing, and partnership agreements for its 32 affiliated sports teams. Each team is independently owned but must adhere to the rules and regulations to be affiliated with the overarching NFL organization and thereby receive profit-sharing from licensing and broadcast/video streaming agreements.
In its communique to team owners, each club will now have permission to seek blockchain partnerships, however top NFL brass explicitly prohibited stadium signage deals – like crypto.com’s massive $700 million naming rights agreement for the Staples Center last November – as well as direct promotion of specific cryptocurrencies.
This latest announcement changes the league’s previous policy, which was an outright ban of any form of cryptocurrency sponsorship imposed last August. Under that previous decision, the NFL also forbade teams from promoting or selling their own non-fungible tokens (NFTs) featuring players, coaches, mascots, team logos, venues and more because the league was developing its own NFT strategy.
That master strategy included releasing a series of seven historic commemorative NFTs for purchase leading up to this year’s Super Bowl in Los Angeles. Prior to that the NFL offered fans who attended select games during the 2021 regular season, complimentary virtual commemorative tickets in the form of an NFT to test out the technology. During that test run, the NFL gave more than 250 thousand free NFTs as premiums for fans.
The new rules will only allow teams to advertise NFTs and the companies behind the project, but they can’t use official team brand marks, identifiers, or logos within the ads. Last year, the NFL announced that it had entered into an NFT partnership with Dapper Labs and TicketMaster to help build and execute the league’s NFT vision.