BitPay, the lead sponsor of the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl, today announced that over one hundred businesses in the St. Petersburg, Florida area will begin accepting bitcoin payments by game day. The college football bowl game is being held at Tropicana Field on December 26th and has sparked the local St. Petersburg economy to take the new digital currency in stride.
BitPay announced its sponsorship of the bowl game back in June and since then has been hard at work explaining the benefits of bitcoin to local businesses – e.g. the elimination of transaction fees and chargebacks. As a result, one hundred businesses including local favorites such as Green Bench Brewing, Craftsman House and Gallery, the St. Petersburg Museum of History, The Ale and the Witch, Acropolis Greek Taverna, Genaro Coffee Company, Hotel Zamora, and Ferg’s Sports Bar will begin accepting bitcoin through BitPay.
By game week the businesses will all be listed on Coinmap and AirBitz, global directories of bitcoin accepting businesses. This service will help bitcoin users in the area locate the bitcoin accepting businesses.
“I’ve been accepting bitcoin for months, even before the bowl game sponsorship,” said Patricia Francati, owner of Genaro Coffee Company. “It’s the cheapest way for me to accept payment, and it attracts customers to my shop. What more could I ask for?”
“I like that the currency is universal,” said Mark Ferguson, owner of Fergs Sports Bar and Grill. “Our area gets a lot of international tourists, and this gives those customers a way to pay without exchanging their money.”
“We are sponsoring this bowl game to show the world a hands-on experience with bitcoin,” says Tony Gallippi, Executive Chairman of BitPay. “St.Petersburg is going to be an example of what bitcoin can enable anywhere in the world – a cheaper, faster, and more secure way of doing business.”
It remains to be seen how many businesses will continue accepting bitcoin after the game and the hype ends.