The Washington Nationals baseball team said Wednesday it will “explore” in-stadium payments of Terra’s UST stablecoin as part of a nearly $40 million sponsorship.
The thrust of that deal centers on exclusive seating naming rights. For the next five years, the ballpark’s home plate VIP lounge will be called “The Terra Club” and feature crypto branding prominently.
“The Nationals continue to push the envelope,” Mark D. Lerner, managing principal owner of the Washington Nationals, said in a blog post. “We are excited to partner with Terra to name our most exclusive club and explore bringing powerful new fan experiences to Nationals Park, including the use of UST cryptocurrency to make purchases.”
CoinDesk preempted the official announcement with a cheeky investigative essay published Tuesday that correctly predicted the tie-up.
Accepting UST payments would place the Nationals in a small but growing field of crypto-friendly sports stadiums. Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks basketball team began taking DOGE last year. Meanwhile, fellow National Basketball Association franchise the Sacramento Kings tapped bitcoin back in 2014.
The Nationals sponsorship is also notable because of its crossover with crypto governance. The Terra decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO) overwhelmingly voted in favor of partnering with a mystery U.S. sports franchise to the tune of nearly $40 million. Holders of the network's native LUNA token went into the vote, which concluded Tuesday, knowing nearly every aspect of the sponsorship – save the name of their prospective partner.
“This first-of-its-kind partnership between a DAO and a sports franchise opens a new world of opportunities for bringing crypto and DeFi to the masses,” Do Kwon, the founder of Terraform Labs, said in a statement. “By approving this sponsorship deal, the community has a new way to engage and educate the public, including the policy makers doing important work in Washington, D.C., about decentralized money and the burgeoning technology that underlies it.”
Kwon and Terraform Labs are both currently under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on possible charges that the Mirror Protocol, developed by Terraform, allows synthetic stocks to trade in violation of U.S. law.
The SEC served Kwon a subpoena last year during a cryptocurrency conference, though he denied he had been served until he decided to file a lawsuit against the SEC alleging the regulator violated norms in serving him the subpoena.
UPDATE (Feb. 9, 2022, 17:15 UTC): Adds SEC lawsuit context.