On a recent podcast with Pablo Torre, ESPN basketball reporter Brian Windhorst suggested the NBA had plans to someday create its own currency for fans to use on everything from tickets and stadium concessions to betting on games. While a project of that magnitude would no doubt be ambitious, the NBA’s involvement in the cryptocurrency space is clearly growing, as evidenced by the recent boom in digital memorabilia sales (some LeBron James Top Shot “moments” are fetching up to six figures with new pack releases attracting lines of over 200,000).
Blockchain enthusiast Mark Cuban, who counts the Dallas Mavericks among his many investments, announced Thursday the Mavs will become the NBA’s first team to accept payments made in Dogecoin. Through the team’s longstanding partnership with BitPay, fans can now use Dogecoin—a decentralized, digital currency boasting a market cap of $6 billion—to pay for tickets, merchandise and other online transactions. The Mavericks have been accepting Bitcoin, a competitor to Dogecoin, for almost two years.
“The Mavericks have decided to accept Dogecoin as payment for Mavs tickets and merchandise for one very important, earth shattering reason, because we can!” Cuban explained in a press release. “Sometimes in business you have to do things that are fun, engaging and hopefully generate a lot of PR. So we will take Dogecoin, today, tomorrow and possibly forever more.”
Dogecoin’s popularity has skyrocketed of late thanks in no small part to tech mogul Elon Musk, who has spoken glowingly of the emerging cryptocurrency. Who knows if Dogecoin will be a hit with fans—Cuban himself seems to be going in with low expectations—though there’s little harm in trying. Even if the Mavs' experiment maxes out as a minimally invasive PR stunt, you can hardly blame them for trying to be ahead of the curve with blockchain moving ever closer to the mainstream.