Bitcoin broker BitPay will sponsor St. Petersburg Bowl in Dec.

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Bitcoin, the open source virtual currency, is now positioning to be the new sponsor of the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl held in St. Petersburg.

Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl will begin with the 2014 season, organizers announced on Wednesday.

BitPay, a startup brokerage for the Bitcoin currency, becomes the bowl’s title game sponsor through 2016, with the first game played Friday, Dec. 26, at 8 p.m. at Tropicana Field and air on ESPN. The Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl features teams from the American Athletic Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

In a statement, BitPay executive chair Tony Gallippi calls the bowl sponsorship “an important opportunity” for the fledgling company.

“Our goal is to continue to move bitcoin into the mainstream and sponsoring the St. Petersburg Bowl offers us that opportunity,” Gallippi said. “College football fans and the bitcoin community represent a similar target demographic – tech-savvy men between the ages of 18 and 40.”

BitPay’s sponsorship is the company’s first foray into sports sponsorship, as it pushes for retailers and businesses to adopt the virtual currency. In recent weeks, the Wall Street Journal reports that both travel website Expedia, Inc. and satellite provider Dish Network announced they would accept Bitcoins for payment.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.