NFTs, cryptos represented for digital works, are blowing the wind of changes to the music industry. Now, they are creeping into every corner of the sports world and gradually addressing their impact in the sports business. In this article, let’s find out what values NFTs bring to the sports world and how they contribute to the development of the sports industry.
First, let’s find out - what does "NFT" mean? NFTs are unique digital assets based on a blockchain network, presenting unique tangible or intangible items such as virtual painting, digital music albums, or collectible sports. An NFT item is unique and embedded with distinct information that is easily tracked in the blockchain network and hence, is not interchangeable. The key value of NFT is authenticity as each token contains a verified data and transaction log, helping to demonstrate the history of ownership. The blockchain can keep all this data secure and cannot be replicated.
Non-fungible tokens are gaining traction in the sports industry with many practical applications. The NFT platform can affect the sports world in multiple ways and bring huge benefits for sports participants. Let’s find out all of these potential values!
Sports NFT for digital collectibles
A significant blockchain company, Dapper Labs, has cooperated with the largest basketball league NBA to establish the well-known sport-related NFT applications, named NBA Top Shot. This provides the marketplace for the fans to purchase and sell highlight video clips of top-class basketball games. These reels are coupled with NBA-licensed digital items. These licenses mean the owner may not have the right to reproduce or get profit from the clips but can own a license to use, copy and display these highlight clips. The platform has successfully satisfied the fan’s demand of buying and collecting athletes' valuable belongings. NBA Top Shot has received around $500 million in sales so far.
Another notable NFT project aimed at collectible features is Sorare, the innovative marriage of sport, gaming, and blockchain. Sorare is a global fantasy football game where users can acquire the role of managers and buy and sell footballers in their team. Sorare has cooperated with more than 100 famous football clubs in the world such as FC Bayern Munich, Liverpool F.C, Real Madrid C.F, as well as players from MLS Players Associations to bring these players to its platform through the licensing agreement. In Sorare, the participants can not only buy and sell the digital player cards but also build a team and get the reward based on real performance through a soccer fantasy league.
Athletes also avail of the beneficial sport NFT platform to issue their NFT collectible items. The American football quarterback Tom Brady issued his NFT platform named Autograph. The platform allows famous athletes and celebrities to create their NFT of digital collectibles and real-life experiences to engage with their fans. Other football quarterbacks who joined the game, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning, issued their digital artwork items “The Manning Legacy Collection” in an NFT marketplace. The admirers of these football stars can buy and trade these NFT collections containing artwork, autographed memorabilia, and exclusive meetings with their idols.
The sport NFT projects that help fans to get closer to athletes' sports life are fan tokens. This NFT application lets fans have exclusive access, VIP rights, and some influence over certain decisions related to the sports team. In 2020, the Spanish football club, FC Barcelona issued its fan token ($BAR) and got an impressive $1.3 million in less than 2 hours after the tokens hit the market. The token has so far reached 106 different nations and provided fans many fascinating opportunities, including the decision for the design of murals inside the team’s locker room.
The Italian football club A.C.Milan also jumped on the bandwagon by partnering with Chiliz to list ($ACM) fan tokens on Binance and get $6 million in revenue in a couple of hours. The fan tokens not only connect the football club with the fan community but also strengthen the relationship between the club and the sponsor. The sponsor can estimate the ROI more precisely based on the transparency of metrics and insights gained from fan interaction blockchain data.
The sport NFT application in Virtual Real Estate is one of the innovative use cases of NFT. The individual can own the unique virtual real estate related to the football team. Owning a seat in the virtual stadium can give the owner the right to watch exclusive stadium events and have an appearance from sport starts. This platform will be the potential section for sports clubs and athletes to exploit and create valuation.
The NFT application in the ticket will be important. The issues of ticket fraud and scalps have long been a controversial topic among event organizers and participants. However, with the appearance of NFT, the fan can feel assured to get a genuine ticket when they purchase on the blockchain with absolute data verification. Besides, blockchain networks can help the sport organizers to trace back all the sale prices and scalp history from the opportunists. Therefore, fans can have an authentic and convenient way to get sports tickets, along with many exclusive rights.
While basketball league NBA is gaining success with NFT Top-Short projects with around $500 million on sales and receiving huge support from the community, other leagues such as NFL, MLB, MLS present the slower movement toward NFT application.
In March this year, the chief media and business officer of the NFL, Brian Rolapp said that the league is studying the blockchain field for tickets and collectibles and will soon exert the power of this technology. It is believed that MLS is considering the potential role of sport NFT and planning meticulous steps to employ this technology successfully. As the NBA already worked with NFT Top-Short projects, the NFL will try to find more innovative ways to utilize the NFT.
In the vast development of blockchain technology, many potential NFT projects can help the sports leagues like NFL to build the whole comprehensive NFT ecosystem in order to gain commercial and financial benefits.
NFTify is one of those projects. NFTify provides the platform for creators to easily create their NFT store with zero coding and low service fee. With just a simple click, everyone can make their own store. The sport teams and their stars, hence, can establish sport collections store to connect with their fans without spending huge resources on building the system. It is noted that NFTify supports multiple NFT formats so the athletes can freely come up with an array of NFT ideas from player cards, avatar, video clips or images featuring highlight moments, game tickets, autograph, and even the virtual land assets. Besides, NFTify is building a secondary marketplace for NFT creators like athletes to have an exciting platform to trade their items and engage closely with the fan base. If the store owners worry about the copyright infringement of their NFTs, then NFTify got the absolute solution for this. The AI engine detection integrated in the platform can scan all the NFT items and check them against the enormous collective data library to detect any faked or replicated items, ensuring the high authenticity of these items.
Therefore, if NFL or other sport leagues are looking for a prestigious NFT partner, NFTify is here. The team is ready to help any sport leagues to share a vision and build the huge NFT dream. If this cooperation worked, we would expect to see the future eminent NFL projects , maybe "NFL golden goal" or "NFL prime time" that joins the rank with the glorious "NBA Top Shots" among top global NFT businesses in today's age.