It’s this week! Not Christmas – that’s this week, too – the first ever Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. It’s a big deal for football lovers because, well, college football, but this year it’s a big deal to a whole new group of people because of its name.
Kickoff for the Bitcoin Bowl at Tropicana Field is Friday at 8 p.m. But there’s a whole lot more to look forward to than just the matchup between the University of Central Florida and NC State.
On Christmas Eve, Wednesday, the teams will hit Madeira Beach starting sometime in mid-afternoon before 3 p.m. where they’ll have lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk. The lunch isn’t necessarily open to the public, but grab your own table for lunch and who knows?
Later Christmas Eve the teams will head to the beach at 3 p.m. to play beach volleyball and try their balance on some paddleboards. At 5:00 players will square off in a belly flop contest and other beach competitions.
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. there’s a Bitcoin Chairman’s cruise leaving from the Docks by the Vinoy. St. Pete City Council members Bill Dudley and Wengay Newton will join. The cruise is not open to the public.
Festivities start on Game Day at 2:30 for tailgating. ESPN will host a VIP tailgate party from 4:30 to 11 at Ferg’s Sports Bar across the street from the Trop.
Formerly the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl and St. Petersburg Bowl, Bitcoin took over naming rights this year as the online tech currency becomes more and more popular. BitPay, a startup company that helps businesses process Bitcoin payments, is the bowl’s title game sponsor.
Fans of Bitcoin consider it more secure currency than credit or debit cards. There’s no identifying information that could be used by would-be bad guys to steal users’ identities.
Despite the agreed-upon benefits, Bitcoin is still widely unheard of. Few merchants accept the online currency. Heads of Bitcoin and BitPay are hoping to change that.
Some businesses in St. Pete are already using BitPay to process the techie money including Ferg’s Sports Bar, the St. Pete Museum of History, Green Bench Brewery and Hotel Zamora.
During a naming launch in August, BitPay owners explained the expansion into college football is a good way to reach an audience not yet tapped. That means football fans asking: what the heck is Bitcoin? It’s a question owners hope to answer.