October 2, 2022

Bitcoin (BTC) payment adoption in the UK has just recruited a new player. Oxford City Football Club look set to become the first National League football club to accept matchday payments in BTC when the season kicks off on August 6.

Fans will be able to purchase tickets, food and drink at Oxford City’s RAW Charging Stadium with Bitcoin via the Lightning Network. Legacy payment methods such as cash and card are still accepted.

Oxford City Football Club (OCFC) currently plays in the sixth tier of English football, the National League South. The club has closed a multi-year partnership with CoinCorner, a Bitcoin company based in the Isle of Man. CoinCorner will sponsor the back of the club’s shirt and have released a limited edition Oxford City FC Bolt Card to mark the occasion.

The Bitcoin logo on the back of the OCFC shirt. Source: CoinCorner

The Hoops, as they are known locally, will feature a BTC logo on the back of their matchday shirts as part of a partnership between CoinCorner and the team. CoinCorner is also the official match sponsor for the opening match of Oxford City FC (OCFC) on August 6th.

On the same day, Peter McCormack’s Bitcoin-backed football club Real Bedford will accept Bitcoin for matchday tickets. However, the Bedford team play in a lower, local league, the Spartan South Midlands League.

CoinCorner CEO Danny Scott explained that OCFC is the “first adopter of Bitcoin payments in the National League.” Scott continued:

“We believe this move will set a trend across non-league and Football League divisions as digital currency is established as the new normal for sports fans and event goers across the UK.”

Bitcoin advocate and founder of OxBit, the Oxford Bitcoin meetup, Coach Carbon explained to Cointelegraph how the deal came about. In December 2022, OCFC hosted the Bitcoin Ballers Winter Cup festival – a day of football focused on Bitcoin.

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OxBit has since hosted various meetups on the club’s grounds, and Carbon continues to support Bitcoin adoption across the city. Carbon managed a relationship with the football club’s new commercial director and shared “a number of informal discussions about engaging and helping the community through events and training”.

“A three-way call was arranged and things progressed from there once the football team understood and could see the impact CoinCorner could have in terms of Bitcoin education and adoption.”

At the club, Justin Merritt, Director of Football at Oxford City FC, explained: “More than 3.3 million people living in the UK now own Bitcoin – an increase of around one million people in the last year alone.”

Cointelegraph reported in June 2021 that, according to an FCA report, up to 2.3 million Brits hold BTC, while a Coinbase report extended that figure to as many as a third of Brits being crypto-curious. Merritt continued:

“It’s not mandatory for people to engage with our new technology, but we believe that over time, Bitcoin payment will become the new normal in English football.”

Across the UK, grassroots Bitcoin adoption is on the rise, with Edinburgh looking forward to hosting a Bitcoin conference in October this year.