Sports fans are passionate. And without them, sports would not be the thriving, exciting industry that it is. Teams thrive on the energy of the people cheering – and sometimes jeering – them on. If you spot someone wearing a jersey of your favorite team, there is an unspoken bond. See a stranger wearing a baseball cap from a rival? You might wish you could say a few choice words to them.
The sports industry is undoubtedly a valuable one, estimated to be worth in excess of $80 billion this year in North America alone. And we’ve said this before, but we’ve come a long way from the pandemic. People want to engage with the real world again. And that means heading out to games in person, eating hot dogs in the stands, cheering from the sidelines, and being around other excited spectators.
A Winning Combo
NFTs are a really effective tool when there is a strong community of people who can rally around them. It’s human nature to want to feel like we’re all part of something bigger and connect with others like us. There is almost no better example of this than sports, and the industry is a natural fit for these new digital assets. Unlike other industries, sports NFTs lend themselves well to both collectibility and utility.
In the future, all sports tickets might be NFTs that live within a digital wallet in a smartphone. (Bonus: you’ll get to keep all your tickets forever, with no frayed corners or fading.) It’s practical for both the fans and the sellers. No more fussing with paper or accidentally leaving them at home. If tickets for a big game are resold, the smart contracts can automatically give a portion of the resale proceeds to the original issuer. This could go a long way to reduce scalping and fraud.
NFTs can provide early access to popular events and ticket purchases. Maybe season ticket holders – among the most lucrative for sports teams – get exclusive access to events via their season ticket NFT. It’s about tying a digital asset to a real world experience or good. NFT 2.0 is all about utility, and NFTs can be given different types of utility at different times. And because the utility drives value, NFTs that grant benefits that are most desirable by the community will be the most valuable. That value can be sustained over a long period of time through the evolution of the utility.
Baseball cards are so 20th Century. We’re already seeing images of athletes, jerseys and memorabilia replace physical items as the new collectible. And now that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) changed its regulations for college sports stars, professional athletes and teams are not the only entities who can benefit. One such project is Holostars, an NFT marketplace for current college athletes by former college athletes.
Cross-promotional NFTs will be a new kind of advertising that provide the owner with utility, like a discount or proof of attendance. A Super Bowl ad becomes a chance for viewers to race to claim a special NFT. Or those in attendance of a US Open semi-finals match will have the opportunity to purchase limited-edition apparel by the sponsor of one of the players before anyone else.
Turn regular fans into fanatics by rewarding them for their participation. Airdrops, discounts and exclusive access can all reinforce a positive experience and increase engagement. For example, if someone attends five games in a row, they can earn an NFT that makes them eligible to win playoff tickets or premium regular season seats.
These are but a few of the use cases. Athletes, fans, brands and stadiums all stand to benefit from the opportunities that NFTs are unlocking every day. Sports are fun, fast-paced, and exciting. The technology with which fans can engage with them should be, too! The future of sports is interactive and teams that can bring a new dimension of engagement to their fans will have a leg up on their competition – on and off the field.
The key to a winning strategy is to integrate NFTs with the web2 experience that people are familiar with. Chainstarters has bridged the gap between web2 and web3 by making this technology easy and accessible. If you want to make NFTs the MVP of your team, contact Chainstarters today.