Tonight, history will be made in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Central Florida Knights square off against the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the first ever Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. With all due respect to these two teams, It won't be historic because of the matchup, but because of the new bowl sponsor...Bitcoin!
I won't be shocked if some don't know what exactly Bitcoin is, which is basically digital money, called cryptocurrency, but before I explain that, let's look at the history of this bowl game.
This bowl dates back to 2008, and is played in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The inaugural game featured the South Florida Bulls and Memphis Tigers, with the Bulls being victorious 41-14. It was played on December 20th, 2008, and it was known as the magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl. Yea....magicJack, remember that thing?
Then the sponsor changed in 2009, and it was called the St. Petersburg Bowl Presented by Beef 'O' Brady's after the restaurant chain obtained a title sponsorship. I'll be honest...never heard of Beef 'O' Brady's, nor have I ever eaten at a Beef 'O' Brady's in my life, have you? This bowl game featured yet another Florida school in Central Florida who faced Rutgers. Rutgers rolled 45-24.
In 2010, the Louisville Cardinals defeated the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 31-28 after falling behind 21-7. In 2011, Florida International lost to Marshall in a boring 20-10 game. 2012 brought the Central Florida Knights back to St. Petersburg a second time, where they steamrolled Ball State 38-17. East Carolina defeated Ohio 37-20 in the last ever Beef 'O' Brady's bowl.
Thankfully, both those sponsors have now been replaced by something innovative and certainly much more intriguing than magicJack or Beef 'O' Brady's. Bitcoin! On June 18th, 2014, it was announced that Bitcoin payment service provider BitPay would become the new sponsor of the bowl game.
BitPay co-founder, Tony Gallippi, wants to spread his message that digital currency is as easy to use as cash and safer than a credit card. So he put his bitcoin where his mouth is this summer when he paid ESPN for a college football bowl game sponsorship in bitcoin.
"Our goal is to continue to move bitcoin into the mainstream and sponsoring the St. Petersburg Bowl offers us that opportunity," said Gallippi, "College football fans and the bitcoin community represent a similar target demographic - tech-savvy men between the ages of 18 and 40."
For those still living in a world of only government-issued paper money, Bitcoin is cryptocurrency and it's been around for roughly half a decade now. Bitcoin will be accepted for ticket and concession sales at the game as part of the sponsorship. Word is, Tropicana Field will continue to accept Bitcoin as payment for it's ticket sales and concessions beyond the bowl game, opening up the door for more sports teams to implement Bitcoin in their financial strategy.
Back in January, I wrote a piece about the Sacramento Kings becoming the first ever pro team to embrace and start accepting Bitcoin for ticket sales and merchandise sales via their website. Funny enough, BitPay had their hands in that deal as well, so it looks like Bitcoin is sort of taking the sports world by storm, as teams and corporations realize it's potential.
For those who are curious, cryptocurrency is 100% legal in all countries except for Iceland. Bitcoin is actually considered property by the IRS, so feel free to get involved, there is nothing illegal or criminal about it! Bitcoin and all digital currencies are decentralized, the total opposite of what most of the world uses, which is based on a centralized system.
All transactions via Bitcoin are publicly recorded on a ledger, which is called the block chain. You can view the funds you sent to someone, or vice versa, and so could anyone else in the world. It's not secretive or shady, it's actually quite transparent without personal details having to be involved.
Some might be wondering, well how do I obtain Bitcoin, or where do I store them? You can obtain Bitcoin in all types of different ways, but the most common and safe way, is to buy them from a seller via an exchange or face-to-face transactions which can be done on sites like LocalBitcoins. There's even some Bitcoin ATM's out there believe it or not. And you store your bitcoins in your digital wallet, which is encrypted by a password and shows your recent transactions and current balance, just like you do with your online banking.
Oh, there's a bowl game to talk about, sorry sometimes I get carried away when talking about Bitcoin, it excites me! I hope that helps explain it in a nutshell for the rookies out there, please do some further research, I felt overwhelmed when I first ventured into cryptocurrency, but now I'm hooked. You will be too.
Central Florida finished the regular season with 9 wins and a share of the American Athletic Conference title, thanks to a last minute hail mary against East Carolina. Central Florida is seeking it's fourth consecutive bowl win, and this is their third time taking the trip to St. Petersburg.
North Carolina State returns to bowl season after a forgettable 3-9 season in 2013. They finished 2014 with a much more respectable 7-5 record, and gave Florida State a real scare back in September. The Wolfpack's success in this game will be decided by their quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who owns a 22-to-5 touchdown-to-interception and has ran for 498 yards and three scores. Their ground game can be deadly as well, but they will certainly be tested against this stout Central Florida defense.
Central Florida's defense is quietly one of the best in the nation, as they boast the fifth-best rushing defense, and are allowing a respectable 17.9 points per game. However, it won't be an easy task against a Wolfpack squad that has torched their last two opponents, by a total of 77-20. Central Florida's defense must hold up in this game, or NC State's offense will take a lead, and force Knights QB Justin Holman out of his element.
The Knights rely on their defense and their ground game to be successful. Justin Homan isn't a terrible QB by any means, it's just this isn't 2013, he's no Blake Bortles. He can and will be inconsistent in this game if he's forced to play catch up. And I think that may happen in this game. I could be dead wrong, and the Knights defense punishes the Wolfpack with no mercy while coasting to an easy Bitcoin Bowl win, but I just don't see it panning out that way.
So my selection for the very first Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl will be on the Wolfpack plus the points.
North Carolina State +2.5 (-110)
And in honor of it being the Bitcoin Bowl, I will be placing the wager in Bitcoins! Yes, you can wager on sports with Bitcoin as well. The current price for 1 Bitcoin is $321. So I'm wagering 1.0 BTC on NC State +2.5.
It's just an awesome concept, and I truly hope this football game will shed some more light on Bitcoin, and broaden the scope outside of the demographic of "18-40 tech-savvy males." Although that stereotype is probably spot on at the moment, Bitcoin is and will be bigger than that in my opinion. And hopefully tonight's game will prove that.
For those interested, you can open up a Bitcoin wallet here, that link will offer you every known Bitcoin wallet out there, but I personally use MultiBit. Feel free to use the one you feel most comfortable with!
Follow me on twitter @windycityiggy. I will be live tweeting the Bitcoin Bowl, and discussing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies!
For those kind enough and/or just simply in the holiday spirit, you can send me Bitcoin to the following address: