American National Football League Bars Teams From Crypto, NFT Partnerships

The NFL shies away from a potentially popular fan engagement option.

The No Fun League

The National Football League (NFL) of the United States has reportedly informed all teams that they cannot sell non-fungible tokens or sponsorships with cryptocurrencies.  

The league is not totally rejecting the industry. Sources remaining under anonymity confirmed to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic that the league would permit teams to align with companies that are not engaged in trading cryptocurrencies.

“Clubs are prohibited from selling, or otherwise allowing within club controlled media, advertisements for specific cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, other cryptocurrency sales or any other media category as it relates to blockchain, digital asset or as blockchain company, except as outlined in this policy,” according to the new guidelines from anonymous sources to the Athletic.

The NFL will allow teams to engage with companies that primarily provide financial advice and management. Due to regulation laws in the United States, this significantly limits the scope of prospective partnerships. 


The league is surely cutting itself off from a huge audience and market opportunity. The NBA and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban have been extremely successful with the NBA Top Shop NFT venture. and Chilliz have been dominating football fan tokens that have brought an exciting new measure of fan engagement–recently on display with the Lionel Messi signing boosted the Paris Saint-Germain Fan Token. The NFL has apparently ruled out all NFT usage. 

What About the Players?

What is the league to do about star players who are already signing deals with tokens? Numerous players have deals and sponsorships arranged with crypto or crypto companies. The Athletic purports that the NFL is surely going to exclude some companies or allow special permissions.

The face of the league, Tom Brady, quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and six-time Super Bowl winner, is a public ambassador for FTX Trading Ltd. What does the league think of that?

A number of players have received salaries in cryptocurrencies. What about the dynamic running back from the New York Giants, Saquon Barkely, who is taking all endorsement money in cryptocurrency?

The NFL has long been known for being cautious toward taboo topics and even more eccentric topics. The league is not known for embracing new topics or deviations from their standards from fining players who enjoy digital fun on the field.

Since crypto does not have full adoption in the United States, it is understandable the league wants to refrain from frivolous engagement. However, it is just poor business to be missing out on the potential that have been shown by the NBA and football leagues around the world. 

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