Optimal Payments Plc and Channel 1 Media are bringing online and mobile payments to fans of professional sports teams in North America.

The San Jose Earthquakes, of the Major Soccer League, is the first franchise to utilize the e-commerce services offered through the London-based Optimal Payments and Toronto-based Channel 1.

Optimal Payments will combine its online payments expertise with Channel 1 Media Solutions Inc.'s digital marketing services for sports franchises. The partnership will allow sports teams to expand interaction with fans through embedded payments options across online and mobile platforms, the companies announced Nov. 12.

The services include credit and debit card processing as well as team-branded loyalty gift cards and digital wallets for consumers to make online and in-stadium purchases of tickets, souvenirs and concessions.

"As we continue to provide innovative services to many franchises and venues throughout the United States and Canada, our clients are eager to strengthen fan relationships by combining digital media with seamless payment options offered by Optimal Payments," Evan Karasick, president of Channel 1 Media, states in a press release.

Optimal Payments says it already provides online services for membership, team-related news content and ticket subscriptions to a large number of major European sports clubs, with the Channel 1 Media partnership providing access to the North American professional sports market.

The San Jose Earthquakes will expand payments services beyond their current use of Optimal Payments for online season ticket renewals.

Martin Leroux, chief business development officer at Optimal Payments, says the partnership will help the sports teams interact with fans at all levels through mobile services.

The partnership is about "turning fan excitement into revenue-generating opportunities," Leroux says in the release.

Last month, Optimal Payments registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to provide payments services to Internet gambling businesses licensed in the state. 

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