Perth Heat says it will become the first club in professional sport to offer to pay staff and players in Bitcoin after recently partnering with cryptocurrency payment company, OpenNode.
Players and staff will be able to be paid in Bitcoin from Friday and the club is also expected to accept the crypto for sponsorships, merch and gameday park concessions like peanuts and crackerjacks.
Perth Heat chief executive Steve Nelkovski told the ABC that split payments could also be accommodated.
“If they want to be paid 10 per cent in Bitcoin and 90 per cent cash, we can do that,” he said.
PERTH HEAT TO OPERATE ON #Bitcoin STANDARD
We are so excited to announce through @BitcoinMagazine we’ll be operating on a Bitcoin standard, partnering with @OpenNodeCo to power payments using the @lightingnetwork.https://t.co/NVZAuNbg17#BTC pic.twitter.com/K638KXVtrn
— Perth Heat Baseball (@PerthHeat) November 17, 2021
The Bitcoin payments were not mandatory, Nelkovski said, but all current employees of the club were on board with it.
If anyone wanted to opt-out, their salary would be transferred to Australian dollars and deposited into their bank account as normal.
“We’re confident that in five years’ time they won’t be just our players but pretty much every professional athlete will be having part or all of their salaries paid in Bitcoin,” Nelkovski said.
The WA club is the most successful team Australian Baseball League history, winning four ABL championships since the competition was formed in 2010.