Deloitte Global estimates that NFTs for sports will reach over $2 Billion in 2022!
As a whole, the NFT industry saw sales hit $41 Billion in 2021! And it is predicted that it will grow up to 20 times bigger in the next 8 years! The sports industry offers a similarly lucrative avenue for growth.
Accounting firm PwC has reported that under 24s had the highest interest in sports out of any other group. This suggests that NFTs in sports is an industry we would all like to take action on in the future!
Collectible limited edition sports player cards have long been collected and sold for profit by fans and investors. NFTs in sports are being used to replicate this sort of trade in a digitized format. NFTs are revitalizing the industry in exciting ways.
Case Study: Sorare
Sorare is a fantasy football game where fans are able to trade and manage ‘teams’ of digitized collectible player cards. Players can assemble their cards into a team and face off against other players in tournaments for rewards.
The company has struck licensing deals with some top European leagues and teams. Sorare uses blockchain technology to assign digital ownership rights to the cards based on Ethereum (ETH). The company is now valued at $4.3 Billion, an astonishing figure as it was only founded in 2018.
CEO Nicolas Julia has claimed that it’s the intersection of NFTs and fantasy football that makes it a huge success. And that it’s also because the two bring together something that is truly new.
Sorare is expanding into the American sports media market. It has recently partnered with MLB (Major League Baseball) to produce a similar style of NFTs.
Other Uses in the Industry
Specifically, the platform sells cards, each registered as a unique token on a blockchain, that represent players and memorable moments in the NBA. Owners of these digital assets are able to then trade them with other players for financial reward.
Along with sports organizations and businesses, you too also have the opportunity to profit off of this trade. In April 2021, a ‘moment’ video on NBA Top Shot of Basketball star and legend Lebron James sold for $387,600. In 2021, fans spent over $230 Million trading NBA Top Shot cards and moments. This is quite the return on investment!
NFTs are transforming the way clubs engage with fans
NFT’s can also increase our enjoyment of our favourite sport through its emphasis on fan engagement. Tim Mangall, CEO of Capital Sport Media who works within the industry has argued that the real opportunity of sport NFTs lies in “fan engagement”. That’s because NFTs give fans the opportunity to ‘own something unique” and also directly related to their sporting passion.
The potential profits and increased fan engagement that are a product of the rise of NFTs in the sports industry have also led individual athletes to launch their own ranges of digital collectibles. NFL (National Football League) star Rob Gronkowski has launched his own series of NFTs, and the fan who buys the ‘crown jewel’ of them will have the chance to meet Gronkowski 1 on 1.
NFTs in sports are also being used to monetise fan experience. For example, NBA team Toronto Raptors sold NFTs that unlocked behind-the-scenes access for its training days. This example provides just a snapshot of the creative ways in which NFTs are being used in sports as organisations and companies look at outside the box methods of creating revenue streams, an important tactic in an industry where profits have been hit by the impact of Coronavirus.
English Football club Manchester City have partnered with Sony to create the world’s first virtual football stadium experience, where in the future you will be able visit a stadium virtually, meet players and buy NFTs in the form of virtual goods such as shirts and scarves. Can’t attend a game in person? Then go online!
What Other Businesses can Learn From the Growth of Sports NFTs
Companies, athletes, and sports organisations have shown great adaptability and a willingness to think outside the box when it comes to their adoption of NFTs. This is an area and method of doing business that other companies should follow if they are to maximise their earnings through their use of blockchain technology.
Sam Noursalehi, CEO of tech company tZERO has highlighted, blockchain technology “is going to change the way we trade value today, how we trade assets. We’re just at the very beginning of this”.
We think that much is to be gained by forward-thinking businesses and individuals willing to get in on the NFTs and sports action.
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