8 December 2021
Blockchain technology is gaining a lot of attention and popularity like a wildfire throughout various businesses. Just like that, the sports industry is no different; Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a new sort of Blockchain-based digital asset that has fuelled the growth in a wide range of sports. With over 8,000 distinct types of sports being played worldwide, NFTs are set to disrupt the ecosystem for fans, players, teams, leagues, marketers, federations, and even intellectual property owners. In order to gain more profit, Crypto artists are also creeping up with their digital masterpieces.
The first set of NFTs was created in 2012, later on, it began gaining attention in 2017-18. Items such as digital trading cards and artwork of athletes, graphics, sponsored content, avatars, films, 3D art, and event ticketing are currently one of the huge NFT potentials in the sports world. This is like constantly changing and evolving the industry for the future. Various artists are coming up with new ways to make NFTs for a variety of sports and provide them to the audience as a means to engage them.
Also read: How To Store NFT Assets
How do sports leagues mint NFTs?
While the NBA is achieving success with NFT Top-Short projects, generating over $500 million in revenue, and receiving widespread support from the community, other organizations like the NFL, MLB, and MLS are moving more slowly towards NFT software.
Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s chief media and commercial enterprise officer stated in March 2021 that the league is exploring the Blockchain sector for tickets and collectibles that would soon use the technology’s capability. It is claimed that MLS is considering the possible role of sport NFT and is working together on meticulous plans to make the most of this technological advancement. Therefore, it is claimed that MLS is considering the possible role of active NFT and is putting together meticulous plans to make the most of this technological advancement. The NFL will attempt to find significantly more imaginative and innovative ways to employ the NFT as the NBA did previously with NFT Top-Short projects.
Many possible NFT initiatives can enable sports leagues like the NFL to construct a comprehensive NFT ecosystem to achieve commercial and financial benefits, all thanks to the massive development of Blockchain technology. One of these initiatives is NFTify which is a platform that allows creators to quickly and easily construct their own NFT store with no coding and modest service cost - that means, everyone can create their own store with just a single click. As a result, sports clubs and their stars can open a sports collections store to engage with their followers without having to invest a lot of money into the system.
Also read: 15 Ways To Boost Engagement With NFTs
NFTify supports several NFT formats that allow athletes to come up with a wide range of NFT concepts, including player cards, avatars, video clips or photographs of key moments, game tickets, autographs, and even virtual land assets. Furthermore, NFTify is developing a secondary marketplace for NFT creators such as athletes to have an exciting platform to exchange their items and interact with their fans. If store owners are concerned about copyright infringement on their NFTs then NFTify is the perfect solution for them. The platform's AI engine detection can scan all NFT stuff and compare them to a massive collective data library to detect any faked or duplicated products, assuring that these items are 100% legitimate.
With many practical applications, NFTs exhibit a transformative approach towards the sports industry in the following ways.
- NFT for digital collectibles in sports:
A major Blockchain firm, Dapper Labs has partnered with the world’s premier Basketball league to create a sport-related NFT application, named NBA Top Shot. It is a marketplace for basketball enthusiasts to buy and sell highlight video clips from top-tier games. These reels are paired with NBA-licensed digital things, which indicates that the owner does not have the right to reproduce or profit from the clips but will have the right to use, copy, and display them. The portal has met the need of fans who want to buy and acquire expensive items from athletes. Because of this so far, the sales for NBA Top Shot have hit over $500 million.
- NFT for Fan Token and engagement:
As mentioned above, in the sports industry, NFTs find a unique use in the form of fan tokens. These fungible utility tokens grant fans to access and affect sports teams’ decisions, VIP privileges, and promotional activities. These fan tokens can be traded and exchanged as well. These tokens are similar to Cryptocurrencies in terms of trading possibilities. Owners of fan tokens have a lot of clout because they can have a say in things like uniform choices, valuable players, and so on.
Last year, in 2020 FC Barcelona, a Spanish football team released a fan token ($BAR) and received an amazing $1.3 million in less than two hours after it went on sale. The token had already been sent to 106 countries providing supporters with a variety of exciting experiences such as the opportunity to paint murals for the team’s locker room. Soon after, even an Italian football club, A.C. Milan hopped on the trend as well, teaming with Chiliz to sell ($ACM) fan tokens on Binance, and with that, they earned $6 million within a span of a few hours. The fan tokens connect the football club with the fan community and strengthen the relationship between the club and the sponsor. Because of the transparency of analytics and the insights derived from fan interaction Blockchain data, the sponsor may more precisely estimate the ROI.
Also read: World's Top 15 Most Expensive NFTs
- NFT as GIFs and Video clips:
Whenever we think of an outstanding athlete, we generally recall the highlights of their career. These unique moments could be easily converted into high-value NFTs and end up in a fan’s digital collection. The NBA Top Shot platform has already adopted the idea of providing NFTs with highlights. First, the NBA trims the moments, and Dapper Labs, the platform developer, decides which ones they’re going to sell. Then they put each highlight into digital packs and sell them on the website.
The video’s quality, the player's stardom level, and the card’s exclusivity determine every moment’s price. Hence, once a fan purchases a pack, the clips are stored in their software wallets for “showcase”, or they can resell on the NBA Top Shot marketplace.
- Interlinking NFTs and computer games:
Interlinking computer games to NFTs opens up new possibilities. In football games like Sorare, players carry the role of managers to purchase and sell their items. NFTs also aid in the strengthening of relationships with various other clubs allowing platforms to sell players from those teams in the game.
- Avatars, stickers, and emojis as NFTs
Athletes, sports teams, and leagues can be graphic designers and create cartoon avatars, stickers, and emojis that can also be animated. Once tokenized, they can be bought by sports fans in NFT form.
- NFT for Charity Donations:
Famous athletes can release a variety of NFTs with the revenue going to charity. From every perspective, this is like a win-win situation; NFT collectors and sports fans will be able to obtain the items they desire while the most vulnerable people of society will profit significantly.
One of the best instances of a Blockchain-based charitable venture is the Ethernity Chain. This Ethereum-based platform enables athletes, artists, and other producers to create limited edition authentic and sophisticated NFTs (A-NFTs) and collectible cards, which may be rewarded and used to raise funds for charity purposes. For example, the legally licenced collection of Pelé's A-NFTs was released by Ethernity Chain, marking the first time this iconic soccer player's collector cards have been available digitally.
Pelé's NFT collection garnered $750,000 as a consequence with 90 percent of revenue going to the Pelé Foundation which is a nonprofit organization that inspires and educates children fighting poverty across the globe.
Also read: 8 Celebrities Binging In The NFT Space
Did you know that sports equipment, trophies, clothing, and accessories used by famous athletes can all be turned into NFTs! You can create a marketplace for your club or join one that already exists, then upload any type of item/s and share it with your followers. Additionally, you can work with the designer to reproduce tickets for famous athletic events and sell them as NFTs. The Golden State Warriors, a San Francisco-based NBA franchise have done just that, releasing their own NFT collection of limited-edition digital reproductions of championship rings and ticket stubs.
The NFT collections such as Warriors Championship Ring NFTs and Commemorative Ticket Stubs NFTs are designed by artist Black Madre. Warriors didn’t stop at selling collectibles, they wanted to provide their fans with an unforgettable experience too; therefore, an actual Warriors Championship Ring will be given to the bidder who buys the first edition of each ring. Additionally, a warriors Championship Banner NFT will be unlocked if a fan purchases all the six NFT rings and completes the entire set.
- NFT as Quotes and social media posts
Quotes can be used as NFTs by athletes, but they must be memorable and dynamic. They can also use their own collection to create NFTs from a photo, GIF, or even a video clip related to a quote. As a result, the token will be a one-of-a-kind limited-edition digital object for which fans will be willing to pay a premium. Athletes can also trade social media posts using NFT tokens, and then this token holder becomes the owner of the post. Minting NFTs has a wide range of options. Therefore, every concept conceived by a sports team or an individual athlete can be recognized.
Indeed, it is true that NFT is still a ‘new’ technology however, for the future it is still quite uncertain. But one thing is for sure that NFTs will continue to exist as long as leagues, players, teams, and inventors can profit from them.
Disclaimer: The author’s thoughts and comments are solely for educational reasons and informative purposes only. They do not represent financial, investment, or other advice.