AZ Alkmaar is set to become the first professional football club in the Netherlands to pay player salaries in Bitcoin (BTC).
In a statement posted on the club website on Thursday, the Eredivisie side, which finished third in the 2020/2021 Dutch football season announced crypto broker Bitcoin Meester as its exclusive and official cryptocurrency partner until mid-2024.
According to the announcement, the sponsorship deal with be finalized fully in Bitcoin, with the Dutch club stating its intentions to keep the BTC sum on its balance sheet.
AZ Alkmaar will also reportedly begin paying its players in Bitcoin, joining the growing list of sports franchises adopting BTC for paying professional athletes.
For AZ’s commercial director Michael Koster, the appeal of Bitcoin and crypto is undeniable hence the club’s decision to adopt BTC. “The cryptocurrency market is booming, with an exponential growth of users in recent years,” Koster added.
Koster added that non-crypto entities like football teams require the guidance of established market participants like Bitcoin Meester. Indeed, the crypto broker is one of the few licensed cryptocurrency businesses by the Dutch central bank.
Crypto regulations seem to be a major topic of discussion among the authorities in the Netherlands, with one government official recently calling for a complete Bitcoin ban.
Crypto companies are increasingly entering into sponsorship deals with sports teams to boost brand recognition and grow their business. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Crypto.com recently announced a global partnership with Formula 1.
From Major League Baseball to the National Basket Ball Association, several American sports franchises and star athletes are also embracing Bitcoin and crypto. Back in June, seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady inked a celebrity crypto-endorsement deal with crypto exchange giant FTX.