College Football

Bitcoin to Sponsor New St. Petersburg Bowl Game

FILE - In this April 7, 2014 file photo, a man arrives for the Inside Bitcoins conference and trade show in New York. The Bitcoin digital currency system is in danger of losing its credibility as an independent payment system because of the growing power of a group that runs the some of the computers behind it. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Mark Lennihan/Associated Press
Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2014

Welcome to 2014, people.

The St. Petersburg Bowl, which was sponsored by Beef O'Brady's from 2009-13, will officially be sponsored by Bitcoin, the new-age purveyor of cryptocurrency, starting next season.

The domain beefobradysbowl.com was changed to feature the new logo Wednesday afternoon, at which point the bowl's official Twitter account confirmed the news with this tweet:

According to Biz Carson of Gigaom, the sponsorship came from payment services provider BitPay, and the deal will run through 2016.

This year's St. Petersburg Bowl will be played on Friday, Dec. 26, at 8 p.m. ET, per FBSchedules.com. It is slated to pit a team from the AAC against a team from the ACC, unless either conference does not have enough bowl eligible teams to participate.

Those conference affiliations are new, however: Last year's game featured East Carolina (C-USA), who beat Ohio (MAC), 37-20.

This is a positive step for the smaller bowl games, which have collectively had their future cast into doubt with the beginning of the College Football Playoff. Chase Goodbread of NFL.com explains why that doubt is probably overblown, and how this contract helps:

The birth of the College Football Playoff brought about some concern for the future viability of smaller bowls such as this one. Bitcoin's step-in is an example of why there probably isn't too much cause for alarm. As long as there is always a new sponsor ready to step in and put its logo on a bowl, that bowl won't be going away. There might be some changes to the landscape in terms of which bowls can get which teams, but sponsorship always has been and will continue to be the bottom line.

That Bitcoin can afford to sponsor a bowl game is a definite sign of the new world order. That it replaced something as conventional and homey as a sports bar seems fitting for the times in which we live.

The thought of older college football announcers trying to wrap their heads around—and, more so, to explain—what Bitcoin is and how it works during the broadcast is incredibly funny to think about.

In the mind of SI.com scribe Martin Rickman, those thoughts might even be enough to get through the rest of the summer:

Amen to that, Martin.

There's a light at the end of the tunnel.

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