The virtual currency Bitcoin has struggled to gain legitimacy since it was invented, but a Bay Area sports team wants to bring it to the mainstream by accepting it in the stands.
The San Jose Earthquakes announced Monday that Buck Shaw Stadium will become the first professional sports venue in the United States to accept bitcoins when the Quakes host the Houston Dynamo on May 25.
That means fans will be able to show up to an Earthquakes soccer game, without cash or a credit card, and they’ll be able to buy anything in the stadium as long as they have their virtual Bitcoin wallet installed onto their smartphone.
The team will have tablets at their points-of-sale throughout the stadium that will allow fans to use the virtual currency to buy anything: food, drinks, souvenirs, even tickets to the game.
The Sacramento Kings already allow fans to use bitcoins, but only for online purchases like tickets, not for purchases made inside their arena.
“We’re actually the first to enable it in the stadium,” Earthquakes President Dave Kaval said. “One of the challenges with Bitcoin is that it’s accepted online a lot, but it’s not accepted in the real world. I think our stadium and this experience could be kind of a bridge for people to see how it’s used in the real world.”
The club partnered with San Francisco-based Coinbase to bring the technology to the stadium. Team officials the software-based system would be easy to transfer to team’s new stadium when it opens next year.
The new Earthquakes’ stadium will hold about 18,000.