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MLS Side DC United Announces Partnership With Blockchain Technology Provider XDC Network

James Murphy
by in Soccer on
  • Major League Soccer (MLS) team DC United has announced a three year partnership with blockchain technology provider XDC Network.
  • XDC Network is now the ‘Official Blockchain and NFT Marketplace Partner’ of DC United.
  • The XDC Network logo will be on the front of DC United jerseys beginning with the 2022 MLS season.

With the possible exception of sports betting companies, there has been more sponsorship activity from blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses over the past year than any other industry. Blockchain technology provider Algorand is a major financial backer of the Drone Racing League. Crypto.com has been very active on the sponsorship front. Among their partnerships are the NHL Montreal Canadiens, the NBA Philadelphia 76ers. the Aston Martin Formula 1 team and Italy’s Serie A soccer circuit. Most recently, they announced partnership deals with women’s soccer team Angel City Football Club and the Miami Formula 1 race. Crypto.com also became the naming rights holder of the Los Angeles sports arena formerly known as the ‘Staples Center’. FTX not only put their name on the Miami Heat’s home arena they brokered sponsorship deals with Tom Brady and Stephen Curry, among others. Coinbase and FTX have been very active in chess sponsorships–if you know anything about the demographics of chess you understand why.

The latest cryptocurrency/blockchain company to get involved in sports sponsorship is technology provider XDC Network. They’re now the ‘Official Blockchain and NFT Marketplace Partner’ of Major League Soccer (MLS) side DC United. The partnership features a number of innovative initiatives but the most high profile will be the XDC Network logo displayed on the front of the team’s jerseys. The press release offered a couple of corporate profiles of XDC Network. The more ‘mainstream friendly’ of these was in the body of the press release:

XDC Network is a leading cryptocurrency project in the fast-developing blockchain industry. The XDC Network stands out as an enterprise-ready, Layer 1 blockchain that is designed to power a wide range of novel blockchain use cases. Additionally, the XDC Network’s near-zero ‘gas’ fees, extremely high transaction speeds, and nearly carbon neutral environment (on pace to be carbon-negative by 2023), position the network among the most competitive and energy efficient blockchain ecosystems on the market. XDC Network also creates easy access for developers and content creators to interact with the ecosystem and tokenize a wide range of assets through smart contracts. Allied Sports played a leading role in brokering the partnership between D.C. United and XDC Network.

The ‘About XDC Network’ blurb at the bottom of the press release is more technical in nature:

XDC Network is a hybrid blockchain equipped with both public and private states. The network is designed to meet the needs of enterprises seeking to enhance their business infrastructure, reduce costs and improve visibility through blockchain technology. As a delegated proof-of-stake powered network, it is both scalable and energy efficient. XDC Network boasts an annual energy consumption of 7,400kWh per block and is EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatible, meaning any project on Ethereum can easily migrate to XDC Network. Additionally, the XDC Network blockchain is compatible with ISO 20022 financial messaging standards and features interoperable smart contracts, near zero fee transactions and high security. These standout blockchain features are designed to support a wide range of novel blockchain use cases.

Additionally, there is a profile of the XDC Foundation, the non-for-profit educational arm:

XDC Foundation is a not-for-profit, decentralized organization that works to connect a community of developers, specialized trade experts, and content creators within a blockchain network where they can efficiently exchange value, ideas and data through decentralized applications and enforceable smart contracts. The role of the XDC Foundation is to encourage development on the XDC Network, hire competent third parties to assess, evaluate, and enhance network infrastructure, ensure transparency of the XDC Network, and increase public awareness of the XDC Network.

In addition to the usual partnership perks, the team and XDC will collaborate on a NFT ‘fan token’ project:

The new partnership is set to deliver one of the most rewarding fan experiences for a professional sports team to date. XDC Network’s blockchain technology will also introduce the D.C. United community to a one-of-a-kind ‘Fan Token’ program, which will reward fan loyalty through several engagement opportunities, like exclusive experiences and special access. Individuals will also be able to buy, sell, trade or interact with NFTs on the XDC Network through an innovative video platform and have the opportunity to learn about blockchain technology. More information on this program and how fans can get involved will be made available in the future.

Danita Johnson, President of Business Operations for D.C. United, had these comments about the new sponsorship deal:

“Our partnership with XDC Network enables us to present more meaningful fan experiences using their cutting edge blockchain technology and create rewarding engagement opportunities for our ever-growing Black-and-Red community. What makes this really unique for us is that it goes beyond a partnership. Through support from the XDC Foundation, we will utilize the blockchain by building a new fan experience on the XDC Network, which will deliver innovative ways for fans to engage with the club and gain access to blockchain education. We are excited to be a pioneer in professional sports and look forward to building a welcoming and transformative future together as we embark on this next chapter for D.C. United.”

Billy Sebell, Executive Director of XDC Foundation, is excited about seeing blockchain technology in ‘real world’ use:

“It’s one thing to build this technology. It’s another thing, however, to see it being used throughout mainstream markets and by recognizable legacy brands. This partnership is about bringing the value of blockchain to the D.C. United fanbase to elevate their experience, drive deeper engagement, and connect the growing crypto ecosystem to the club. The vision of inclusivity that we share with D.C. United and the Washington, D.C. soccer community, paired with the growth of the global game in the United States create the perfect fit for us. By bringing blockchain to the real world, through the D.C. United community, we can build a more inclusive community on the XDC Network. This partnership will build on top of the network’s enterprise development and adoption.”

Look for many more blockchain/cryptocurrency related sponsorships in every sport imaginable over the next couple of years.

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