Suns sign patch deal with PayPal

The Phoenix Suns have sold their jersey patch to payment processor PayPal in a deal that both team and company officials hope will make the arena more of a cashless environment.

As part of the deal, PayPal will be integrated into the Suns' mobile app, which will allow fans to make one-touch payments to buy everything from merchandise to concession items within Talking Stick Arena, as well as pay for parking. The arena will also have PayPal card readers that enable payments by chip, tap or swipe. Fans will also be able to make purchases using Venmo, the peer-to-peer payment processor that PayPal owns.

"For us, this deal checked all the boxes," Suns president and CEO Jason Rowley told ESPN. "It was a company with global reach that has the ability to project our brand beyond the local and national footprint, that has a strong presence in our market and is a partner who's focused on consumer innovation."

Robert Clarkson, general manager of PayPal North America, said the brand hasn't ever aligned in this way with a sports team, but he said he was impressed with the Suns' relationship with the fans before, during and after a game.

"We believe that they're a great partner to work on the next generation of consumer experience," Clarkson said.

Clarkson said payment by app or through a QR code scan would not only change the way people pay but will enhance the game experience.

"With sports fans, every second counts," Clarkson said. "There's a sense of urgency. The goal is for payments to not take away from that urgency. When someone orders a beer and people have to pass the beer down the aisle and then the money back and forth, it involves 25 people and takes away from their experience."

Clarkson said that getting the brand in front of sports gamblers had nothing to do with the deal. Last month, DraftKings sportsbook in New Jersey struck a deal with PayPal that enables bettors to load funds using the payment processor.

PayPal is the second payment processor to strike a patch deal with an NBA team, joining Western Union, which signed a deal with the Denver Nuggets before last season. Western Union also funded sports bets, though the business has slowed down since the company was fined $586 million last year for illegally providing money transfer between bettors and offshore books.

There are only five teams that have yet to sign deals by the start of the three-year pilot program's second season: the Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder.