English Premier League soccer club Southampton FC has secured a new deal with Bitcoin sports betting firm Sportsbet.io as their main club partner, which includes the option for the club to be paid performance-based bonuses in Bitcoin.

The deal will see the crypto-friendly betting platform continue as the club’s shirt sponsor for the next three years. While the financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, Southampton FC confirmed that if the club feels that Bitcoin as a “new, high-growth currency” will deliver “significant future benefits,” certain performance-based bonuses can be paid in the cryptocurrency.

The initial sponsorship deal between the Saints and Sportsbet.io, which is part of the Coingaming Group, was announced last August at the start of the 2020/2021 campaign and was due to expire at the end of the current season.

Soccer scores with crypto

The new arrangement between Southampton FC and Sportsbet.io, said to be the biggest in the club’s history, is the latest strengthening of the ties between crypto and soccer. Back in 2018, several Premier League outfits partnered with Sportsbet.io to trial cryptocurrency for player transfers, with the online sports betting platform voicing its confidence that Bitcoin would eventually replace fiat currencies in the multi-billion transfer industry.

Another partnership saw Sportsbet.io join forces with Watford FC to display the iconic Bitcoin logo on its players’ shirts during the 2019/2020 season–the goal of that campaign being to “boost awareness” and “offer further education” around cryptocurrency.

Watford FC has branded the Bitcoin logo on its players’ kits. Do Watford fans care? 

And other crypto companies are getting in on the action. Earlier this year, Scottish Premier League club Rangers FC announced a sponsorship deal with crypto exchange Bitci.com. Other clubs have gone a step further and launched their own fan tokens.

Soccer clubs have also boarded the NFT hype train, with NFT-powered fantasy soccer game Sorare licensing more than 100 teams for its offering; one non-fungible token, depicting Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo, recently sold for nearly $290,000.

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