NFL Eases Team NFT Restrictions, Permits Blockchain Partnerships | Cryptocurrency Promotions & Fan Tokens Still Banned

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The National Football League (NFL) will let their teams sign sponsorship deals with blockchain companies.

In a memo released on Tuesday, the NFL stated that teams will now have permission to seek blockchain partnerships. However, stadium signage is excluded, and the teams still won’t be allowed to directly promote cryptocurrencies.

This decision modifies the NFL’s previous outright ban on cryptocurrency sponsorship announced in August 2021. At that time, it banned teams from selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as it claimed to be developing a strategy.

With the level of success and progress the crypto space has seen in recent times, the change in the NFL’s approach is not entirely surprising.

According to the NFL, it claims that it has finally evaluated the technology and will now permit “promotional relationships without undertaking excessive regulator or brand risk.”

Blockchain Sponsorships limited to three years

The league may be easing their stance, but teams are still limited on what they can do. The head of consumer products for the NFL, Joe Ruggiero, told CNBC that the sponsorship deals are not to exceed three years, so as to ensure flexibility.

This means that long-term deals such as the 20-year sponsorship agreement that saw LA Staples Center renamed  Crypto.com Arena won’t be possible in the NFL.

NFT Revised Guidelines

The revised rules will only allow teams to advertise NFTs and the companies behind the project. In addition, they cannot use their official logos and other markings in the ads. Teams also can’t enter any product licensing arrangements or sponsorships with NFT or NFT companies.

This strict stance on team NFTs is due to the NFL’s current agreements with companies in the non-fungible token space. Last year, the league entered into a partnership with leading NFT company Dapper Labs. The NFL gave Dapper Labs the rights to create NFL NFT collectibles called NFL All Day. The NFTs feature digital video highlights of memorable plays.

The NFL also partnered with trading card company Panini to develop its first NFT trading cards.

No Team Fan Tokens

Another area where the NFL maintained their restrictions is on fan tokens. This isn’t surprising, given that the performance of sports fan tokens has been far below expectations recently. In November, the league did allow the New England Patriots to sign a deal with fan token platform Socios.com, but the partnership did not include fan tokens.

The NFL hasn’t just been evaluating the crypto space; it’s also making moves to capitalize on the technology. In fact, last year the NFL lobbied the White House, Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission on matters relating to blockchain technology.

It also experimented with NFTs during some of its games last year, including Super Bowl LVI where a number of crypto firms advertised their services during the game.

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