United Kingdom Bitcoin (BTC) payments adoption just recruited a new player. Oxford City Football Club looks to become the first National League football club to accept matchday payments in BTC when the season kicks off on Aug. 6.
Fans will be able to purchase tickets, food and drink at Oxford City’s RAW Charging Stadium with Bitcoin over the Lightning Network. Legacy 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 struck 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 sport a BTC logo on the back of the matchday 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 game on Aug. 6.
On the same day, Peter McCormack’s pro-Bitcoin football club, Real Bedford, will accept Bitcoin for matchday tickets. However, the Bedford team plays in a lower local league, the Spartan South Midlands League.
CoinCorner CEO Danny Scott explained that OCFC is the “first adopter 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 event-goers across the U.K.”
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 footballing day out.
OxBit has since hosted various meetups at the club grounds and Carbon continues to advocate for Bitcoin adoption around the city. Carbon managed a relationship with the football club's new commercial director and shared “numerous informal discussions about engaging and helping the community through events & education.”
“A three-way call was arranged and things progressed from there once the football club understood and could see the impact CoinCorner could make with regards to 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 U.K. now own Bitcoin — an increase of approximately one million people in the last year alone.”
Cointelegraph reported in June 2021 that, per an FCA report, up to 2.3 million Brits own BTC, while a Coinbase report stretched that figure to as much as one-third of Brits are crypto-curious. Merritt continued:
“It’s not mandatory for people to engage with our new technology, but we believe in time, paying via Bitcoin will become the new normal in English football.”
Across the United Kingdom, grassroots Bitcoin adoption is growing, while Edinburgh looks forward to hosting a Bitcoin conference in October this year.