AntPool, a Chinese cryptocurrency mining company and one of the largest Bitcoin mining pools in the world, announced its official sponsorship of the Houston Rockets for the 2018-2019 NBA season.
This is major news for the entire cryptocurrency market as the NBA is a mainstream sports organization that is followed all over the world. In 2018, an average of 1.28 million viewers watched NBA games during the regular season—that’s 1.28 million viewers per game.
About AntPool and the NBA partnership
AntPool is currently the fourth largest Bitcoin mining pool with 10.9% of the network’s total hashrate in the last week, according to Bitcoinist.
As part of the deal, AntPool plans to unveil an exhibition at the Toyota Center, the Rockets’ home court, in early 2019. According to South China Morning Post, AntPool has also pledged to invest US$500 million in the Texas economy over a 7-year period.
The Rockets sponsorship deal with AntPool is the second piece of cryptocurrency news for the team in the past several weeks. Billionaire team owner, Tilman Fertitta, recently announced that his luxury car dealership would accept Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash payments. Post Oak Motor Cars has become the first dealership in the U.S. to adopt cryptocurrency as means of payment.
At the start of the year, Mark Cuban announced that his Dallas Mavericks basketball team would accept Bitcoin in the upcoming season. “We will be adding a crypto payment ability,” Cuban tells CoinDesk. “We will accept BTC, Eth, possibly some other currencies. [That’s] to be determined.”
Thoughts on the Partnership
According to AntPool overseas operations manager Haijiao Li, partnering with the Houston Rockets was the optimal method of expanding into the U.S. markets.
Li acknowledges the increasing number of mainstream cryptocurrency partnerships as an important step towards the conversion of consumers to adopt and understand bitcoin and other digital assets.
“As the cryptocurrency industry around the globe continues to evolve and develop, it is going to be more and more important for companies like AntPool to lead the conversation and conversion of consumers to adopt and understand digital currencies. It is an exciting time, and we welcome Rockets fans and those traveling to Houston to visit our showcase at Toyota Center and learn more about the technology that will change the world.”
Rockets Vice President of corporate development John Croley said “We’re excited to work with AntPool as a conduit in the U.S. for their ever-growing business,” and added, “The Rockets are always looking to stay ahead of the curve with technology both on and off the court and AntPool’s prowess with cryptocurrency makes for a great partnership.”
Positive Effect on Overall Markets
The most important thing that the cryptocurrency industry needs today is awareness and proper education. Currently, other cryptocurrency companies are taking advantage of similar partnerships in the field sports—such as baseball and football—to increase awareness and publicity of their own company, and for global expansion purposes. At the same time, the overall positive impact that these partnerships have on the industry is incredible and greatly appreciated by all crypto-enthusiasts.
“B2B reporter – Content Manager – Contributor – Fintech – Blockchain – Cryptocurrency”
Simon Chou is a B2B reporter and content manager specializing in technology and finance. He has worked with many clients in the fintech and blockchain space. He holds investment positions in bitcoin and other large-cap cryptocurrencies, and has been reporting on cryptocurrency since 2017. Currently, Simon is the content manager for a major cryptocurrency exchange @HybridBlockHQ.