UK Bitcoin (BTC) payment adoption has just recruited a new player. Oxford City Football Club looks set to become the first National League football club to accept BTC paydays when the season kicks off on August 6.
Fans will be able to purchase tickets, food and drink at Oxford City’s RAW Charging Stadium with Bitcoin over the Lightning Network. Older payment methods such as cash and card are still accepted.
Oxford City Football Club (OCFC) currently plays in the sixth tier of English football, the National League South. The club entered into a multi-year partnership with CoinCorner, an Isle of Man-based Bitcoin company. CoinCorner will be a back-of-shirt sponsor for the club and released a limited edition Oxford City FC Bolt Card to mark the occasion.
The Hoops, as they are known locally, will feature a BTC logo on the back of their match shirts as part of the partnership between CoinCorner and the team. CoinCorner is also the official match sponsor for Oxford City FC’s (OCFC) opening match on 6 August.
On the same day, Peter McCormack’s pro-Bitcoin football club, Real Bedford, will accept Bitcoin for matchday tickets. However, the Bedford team play in a lower, local league, the Spartan South Midlands League.
CoinCorner CEO Danny Scott explained that OCFC is the “first user of Bitcoin payments in the National League.” Scott continued:
“We believe this move will set a trend across non-league and Football League divisions as digital currency establishes itself as the new normal for sports fans and events across the UK.”
Bitcoin advocate and founder of OxBit, the Oxford Bitcoin meetup, Coach Carbon explained to Cointelegraph how the deal came about. In December 2022, OCFC hosted the Bitcoin Ballers Winter Cup festival – a Bitcoin-centric football day.
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OxBit has since hosted various meetups on the club grounds and Carbon continues to advocate for Bitcoin adoption around town. Carbon managed a relationship with the football club’s new commercial director and shared “many informal discussions about engaging and helping the community through events and education.”
“A three-way conversation was arranged and things progressed from there once the football club understood and could see the impact CoinCorner could make in terms of Bitcoin education and adoption.”
At the club, Justin Merritt, director of football at Oxford City FC, explained: “More than 3.3 million people living in the UK now own Bitcoin – an increase of approximately one million people in the last year alone.”
Cointelegraph reported in June 2021 that, according to an FCA report, up to 2.3 million Brits own BTC, while a Coinbase report stretched this figure to as much as a third of Brits being crypto-curious. Merritt continued:
“It is not mandatory for people to engage with our new technology, but we believe it is time that payment via Bitcoin will become the new normal in English football.”
Across the UK grassroots use of Bitcoin is growing, with Edinburgh looking forward to hosting a Bitcoin conference in October this year.