Hampshire-based Southampton Football Club has inked a deal that will include the option for players to receive performance-based bonuses in Bitcoin at the conclusion of the football season in England.
According to a CityAM report, Southampton sealed the deal over the weekend with Coingaming Group, the company behind Sportsbet.io, the club’s official shirt sponsor. The club’s initial partnership with Coingaming came at the start of the season after Southampton fell out with an existing Chinese sponsor, LD Sports.
Coingaming initially secured a spot only for the 2020/2021 season but has now extended the deal for an undisclosed period. While the financial terms were also not revealed, the report notes that it is “the biggest sponsorship deal in the club’s history,” and comes with an extra perk of players receiving performance bonuses in Bitcoin.
Putting the expected payroll into context would mean that Coingaming would have to purchase bitcoin to pay the player bonuses for all 24 eligible players.
With Southampton’s highest earner, forward Danny Ings bagging £3.9 million ($5.35 million) per year, a mere three per cent performance bonus would require £117,000 ($160,700) with the numbers running into half a million pounds at least for all Saints players.
Bitcoin’s potential to go up in value will most probably attract some players who take the bonus in BTC to store it and spend their main salaries instead. A good example is American pro-athlete, Russell Okung who has gained roughly £5.8 million ($8 million in potential profit) by choosing to receive half of his annual salary in Bitcoin.
Meanwhile, commenting on their partnership, Saints’ Chief Commercial Officer David Thomas labelled Coingaming a “valued partner” that is “innovative, forward-thinking and extremely supportive of the club, our fans, and the wider community.”
Coingaming also has an ongoing partnership with Watford FC, with the second-tier side having the Bitcoin logo on its jersey in another high-profile deal.
Bitcoin currently trades at £43,600 with an £815 market cap and over 100% year-to-date returns,