Why is Web3 technology a breath of fresh air for the world of sports?
Web3 technology has already developed its impact on several areas of our community life. We can experience it in some crucial spaces, such as tokenization in the energy industry or charity initiatives. The world of entertainment is still catching up, just to mention play-to-earn introduced for video game lovers or the tokenized albums released by music artists. This time, we dig deeper into the world of sports. Let’s learn more about the impact Web3 has on sports and how it may develop in the upcoming time.
The World Cup-winning Argentina team member, Lautaro Martinez, scores a goal. It helps his club, Inter Milan, in grabbing the Supercup of Italy. Later on, you have the opportunity to basically take the kicked ball from the net and keep it as a souvenir. Does it sound abstract? Not anymore. All thanks to the connection between the worlds of football and Web3.
The mentioned situation refers to the events from 18 January 2023. The creators of fan tokens, Socios, offered the owners of the tokens a rare possibility to buy the balls used by players to score goals. After every goal, a match official was bound to label the ball with a chip as a sign of authenticity. Later, they were collected for the NFT auction and all dedicated fans could bid to get a unique souvenir. Luckily enough, Inter Milan beat 3-0 their local rivals, AC Milan, so the organizers had 3 balls in hand. In general, it was an action created to prove the exclusivity of fan tokens. If you are the owner of NFT under the brand of your beloved club, you have the access to unique benefits.
The match ball from the Supercup of Italy. Source: Socios
Of course, the mentioned Italian teams are not the only ones that released tokens. Many top European clubs consider it a cutting-edge solution to build their brand among the most devoted supporters willing to get closer to everyday activity. By that, we mean quite a wide range of benefits, from participation in jersey design, through creating a motivating sentence that has its place in a dressing room, to the opportunity to meet your favorite player. The slogan used by Socios — “Be more than a fan” — says it all.
So, supporting who gives you the possibility to buy fan tokens? From the regularly updated CoinMarketCap ranking considering market capitalization, the current top football brands in NFT society include the titled clubs from all over Europe including S.S. Lazio, FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, FC Porto, Manchester City, or Galatasaray.
The company that distributes fan tokens (in most cases Socios) releases a fixed number of products that goes on the bidding phase among the supporters. A sports club functions as a connector here. As soon as the whole round of tokens is sold, both initiators of the action share the income under established conditions. So, both football clubs and their supporters can profit from this activity.
If you were to ask the experts about the first signs of the growing importance of Web3 in the world of sports, they would probably mention NBA Top Shot, the platform introduced in October 2020. What is it then?
Dapper Labs is a blockchain technology developer from Canada that had already proven its value for the crypto world before linking with NBA. They created CryptoKitties, the first play-to-earn NFT game that has reached a high-profile status. The project’s success has pushed the company to higher targets and soon afterward the partnership with NBA was announced.
The world’s best basketball league has decided to introduce a market where fans with NFTs can buy and trade exclusive short video clips from particular games. Each registered user can get a pack or set of tokens and use it to have a full view of the most remarkable moments of the action on the court.
The available content is connected into listed categories that differ in terms of degree and price.
- Common Moments: the regular events from the everyday NBA action.
- Fandom Moments: special situations from the past, most valuable to the fans of specific teams.
- Rare Moments: extraordinary events recognized by the general audience.
- Legendary Moments: as the name says itself, the unforgettable events featuring the top stars of the league from the past and present.
The moments are collected in packs and released for purchase and investment. There are also so-called Flash Challenges in which a user gets an opportunity to win the pack of moments as a prize.
Thanks to NBA Top Shot fans can waych exclusive content with the greatest players. Source: NBA Top Shot
Last, but not least — how much are the NBA Top Shot NFTs worth? As mentioned before, the price depends on the quality of the pack. The basic ones are worth around $9, while the special ones have unlimited value. The Legendary Packs featuring the stars like LeBron James or James Harden can be valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, if you are a huge NBA fan and you want to be an owner of exclusive content, make sure you have some significant savings!
After the widely discussed difficulties with ticketing before the 2022 UEFA Champions League final in Paris, there appeared multiple comments about the need to introduce NFT ticket systems for big sporting events. This activity is bound to eliminate fraud in the future.
This kind of ticket has a unique and unfalsified QR code that guarantees safety, verifies the authenticity of the ticket, and consequently improves the whole process of checking. This is why the solution is considered to be introduced for example in the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the biggest event in the world of sports — the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games.
Another benefit coming from this solution is the number of additional benefits that can be added to the NFT ticket. The owner could also improve the ticket with a parking space, VIP seat, participation in events with exclusive rewards, or vouchers for food and beverages during the game.
To sum up, NFT tickets have the potential to decrease the level of fraud in this area of sports and provide fans with multiple exclusive functionalities. Even though the world might not be convinced enough to go for it totally from the very beginning, it’s worth trying.
The clear presence of tokens in the most-watched sports worldwide is just a factor that influences other areas. Let’s take a look at some examples.
There are some sports-related NFTs available on platforms like OpenSea. The American football star, quarterback Tom Brady, launched an NFT startup named Autograph that reached $170 mln in Series B funding. It allows fans to purchase digital assets related to their sports idol’s careers and signed by them.
In other words, you have a unique opportunity to get a tennis racket with Rafael Nadal’s autograph, a skateboard signed by Tony Hawk, a memorable clip from the time when Usain Bolt has broken the world record in 100m, and many more.
Sorare has discovered a fantasy sports game, where you can purchase digital cards with players from football clubs, NBA, and MLB. You form a 5-man team that works on its value growth. The whole activity is placed on the blockchain platform.
Blockchain has proven its value in opening the door for previously unknown strategies of interaction with fans and monetizing it. Blockchain player’s cards, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and sports art are just examples of goods available on the platforms. They are becoming more profitable for sports organizations than traditional products for fans, such as jerseys, clothes with club logos, mugs, etc.
The most famous use cases of Web3 technology in the sports industry show the growing power of this solution. Fans have always been an integral part of the development of their beloved teams or individual players. Even the old truth repeated by sports pundits says that professional sports are nothing without supporters. Considering all mentioned examples of the usage of Web3 technology in the industry, we can only observe the strengthening of this relationship.
The ownership of NFTs opens the door for making their dreams come true and feeling that they really have an impact on the things that happen around their favorite teams and players.
Besides that, tokens are starting to be a method of payment for season tickets, VIP seats, etc. In summary, the number of issues linked with sports that can be reached by Web3 in the nearest future can only grow. And we can only feel proud of being the spectators of a kind of revolution.