The Sacramento Kings are the first professional sports team to accept Bitcoins, the virtual currency that’s grabbed the attention of technophiles and investors.
The basketball franchise partnered with payments-processor BitPay to accept the digital money in the Kings Team Store, which sells jerseys, T-shirts and paraphernalia. Fans will also be able to use Bitcoins to buy game tickets and merchandise online by March, BitPay said.
The Kings’s adoption of Bitcoin payments will encourage other teams to accept the currency, Tony Gallippi, CEO of BitPay, said in an interview.
“Guys like sports, guys like Bitcoin,” Gallippi said. “I imagine we’ll have many more by summertime.”
Accepting Bitcoins may not be a slam dunk. The value of the virtual currency, which was introduced in 2008 by a mysterious programmer or group of programmers, shot up from $13 a year ago to well over $1,000 by the end of 2013, and had wild swings in between.