Weeks after the surprise announcement that it would drop bitcoin from the title of its St Petersburg Bowl, ESPN remains tight-lipped regarding its “mutual decision” with former St Petersburg Bowl sponsor BitPay to cut short its support for the event.
Though somewhat cryptic in its original response, an ESPN spokesperson has confirmed that “BitPay is no longer the sponsor” for the game, and that this year’s version is likely to bear the generic title the St Petersburg Bowl. BitPay, which offers bitcoin payment processing services, signed a three-year deal to provide financial support for the event last April.
Even despite the untimely ending to its contract, ESPN has suggested it may be open to sponsorship opportunities with companies in the bitcoin space when considering bowl game sponsors.
A spokesperson told CoinDesk:
”We would not rule out any serious party that would be approved per NCAA rules as our title sponsor.”
The Bitcoin St Petersburg Bowl was a ratings hit, garnering an audience of more than 3 million viewers, a figure that some have noted surpassed many NCAA basketball playoffs though it attracted its share of detractors both in the viewing public and among local Florida merchants.
When asked if multiple parties could perhaps come together in a bid to continue the sponsorship, ESPN was less clear, suggesting such a path would need higher approval.
“That is something the NCAA would have to answer,” the spokesperson added.
A full list of sponsorship rules can be found on the athletic association’s website.
Neither BitPay nor the NCAA responded to requests for further information.
Disclaimer: CoinDesk founder Shakil Khan is an investor in BitPay.
Football image via Shutterstock