Non-Fungible Tokens in Sports - How They're Making Money and What the Future Holds

Non-Fungible Tokens in Sports – How They’re Making Money and What the Future Holds

12 mins read

The sports industry has taken an interesting turn in recent years, with the advent of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain technology.

Already, this new medium has changed how many people watch and follow sports, with more changes expected to come in the future. How can you get involved? And what does this mean for the future of sports? Here’s everything you need to know about NFTs and sports, plus some helpful tips on how to make money from it!

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are tokens on the blockchain that are unique from other NFTs. Think of them as one of a kind items. What makes them so special? Recently, NFTs have been gaining popularity in the digital world and real-world alike.

How could NFT affect major sports leagues?

NFT’s have the potential to have an enormous impact on the sport industry around the globe. Sports entertainment is a multi-billion dollar industry, and with NFT’s entering the mix, blockchain technology might fundamentally change how people watch, play and interact with sports.

The most significant way it could affect major sports leagues is by cutting out middlemen that want to profit off of their work. The next generation of fans will be able to freely connect with other fans directly without having to go through expensive broadcasts or advertisements that hurt fan engagement.

 One of NFT’s biggest impacts on major sports leagues would be its ability to bring less expensive games to fans. It would also increase fan engagement by making it easier for them to connect with other fans online, which is a significant issue that many sports organizations are currently trying to figure out.

Will non-fungible tokens replace all tradable memorabilia?

So, will non-fungible tokens replace all tradable memorabilia? As of now, it seems unlikely. However, there is no way to know for sure until NFTs are more prevalent.

As an industry grows, it can change how we operate within that industry. In order to understand what’s happening in a certain industry, you should always understand where that industry started. This can give you an idea of where it’s going and what new technologies are emerging from within that space.

At current, there are no plans to replace memorabilia with non-fungible tokens. It will depend on how much people value a physical item.

In some cases, sports fans prefer to own an item that they can hold rather than possess information about their favorite team or player. The economics of NFTs will determine whether or not they take over memorabilia completely.

As of now, NFTs are being used to enhance existing items as well as create new items entirely (as shown above). As of now, there is no clear answer as to whether they will be taking over all tradable items. However, you could argue that we already have digital assets like digital currency and gold-backed tokens. Do those replace physical money? No.

 

Does blockchain technology bring value to fans or only leagues and teams?

This is one of those questions that might need to be broken down into two parts: Does blockchain technology bring value to fans or only leagues and teams? There are several possibilities, but here’s a look at some of them.

Fans as investors A common belief regarding blockchain tech is that people can own stakes in a team or league without having any direct impact on it.

That would mean they wouldn’t be able to vote on issues or have other forms of input, just like fans who invest in stocks don’t have direct control over anything their company does. Blockchain tech would allow for full transparency about how teams operate, but no real influence for fans who buy into tokens.

 Blockchain technology can bring value to both leagues and fans.

Smart contracts could be used to make it possible for fans to buy merchandise or even tickets without paying fees. One company called EventChain is hoping its blockchain ticketing service will help concerts avoid scalping, at least during events that take place on a blockchain.

Of course, sports are different from concerts in some ways — there’s no need for worry about scalping when you’re dealing with tickets that are purchased using cryptocurrency — but if EventChain can address one issue, it might be able to address other concerns down the road as well.

Fans as teams Some companies want to give power directly to fans by letting them own shares of a team or league without having any direct control over its operations.

Is there any other way in which blockchain will change how we consume entertainment?

While non fungible tokens are being used in a multitude of ways, it’s important to remember that they’re just one of many applications for blockchain. While cryptocurrency has a bad reputation because it can be volatile, there’s still promise in how it will change how we consume entertainment. From buying sports tickets with crypto or even gambling on your favorite teams, there’s potential for fans to become even more engaged and interactive with their favorite teams. In fact, some companies are already capitalizing on these opportunities.

 All these reasons point to a future where entertainment is more interactive, engaging, accessible, democratic and maybe even profitable.

For example, companies like BitTicket are using non fungible tokens to help sports fans be able to use cryptocurrency at their favorite stadiums. It’s also building a peer-to-peer betting platform that will allow fans to make profits when their teams win or lose.

While these kinds of examples show how blockchain will change how we consume entertainment, it’s still too early to say whether blockchain will revolutionize entertainment as a whole. 

However, there’s no denying that it’s already having an impact on what we can do with our favorite athletes and stars once they leave behind sports forever. As far as who benefits from blockchain in entertainment, it really depends on who you ask.

Fans obviously benefit because they get to interact with their favorite stars in new ways and make money while doing so.

The industry itself could see benefits by making transactions easier, safer and faster than ever before while reducing fraud thanks to blockchains unique ability to secure data.

And lastly, many celebrities stand to benefit by creating assets for themselves which gives them greater control over their image. This could even extend into IP rights for books or movies based off of celebrities own lives.

When will fans be able to buy tickets with cryptocurrency, not fiat currency?

There’s currently one provider offering cryptocurrency payments to major sporting organizations, called ChronoBank.

However, you can’t use crypto at stadiums yet — those purchases will go through VISA or Mastercard. The company is still awaiting full approval from league owners to begin offering cryptocurrency payments at games.

Fans will be able to buy tickets with cryptocurrency through their wallets when that happens, but transactions will actually be made with fiat currency.

Still, fans will be able to link their card with a wallet like Abra or Revolut and pay for tickets instantly using cryptocurrencies; they won’t have to exchange currency first. It sounds like a slow process — it may take months before any league actually approves crypto payments — but sports fans are used to waiting for updates.

 It’ll likely be a slow process. While it might not happen overnight, ChronoBank says many major sports leagues are interested in accepting cryptocurrency payments from fans.

The organization is awaiting final approval from all major league owners before offering its services to stadiums; it will start with purchasing tickets. ChronoBank’s first customers are teams located in Australia and New Zealand — it doesn’t have any partnerships outside of that region yet.

Outside of those areas, cryptocurrency is less common, but maybe more important sports leagues will follow along eventually. Next on ChronoBank’s radar?

Verdict

Although NFT is an exciting innovation in sports industry, it has yet to make much impact as of yet. With a recent announcement by KyberNetwork that they will be working with IMOM (Institute for Modern Manufacturing) Singapore on building a decentralized fantasy game on top of its platform, it is becoming clear that there are tangible solutions to problems in today’s sporting world.

But more is needed to address these issues. If NFT can provide a long-term solution for major issues in sports industry, then it may become easier for NFT investment from both institutional and individual investors.

As long as NFT continues to build stable solutions to existing problems in sports industry, then we should see increased adoption among consumers.

 Although there is increased adoption of NFT in sports industry, there are still major issues that need to be addressed.

As mentioned earlier, KyberNetwork’s partnership with IMOM Singapore may provide a solution to some of these issues by providing better data management and control over personal information.

Moreover, Blockchain disruption might also potentially increase revenues for professional leagues. On Dec 18, 2018, CNBC published an interview with Brendan Eich (Founder of Brave Browser) where he discussed how Blockchain can transform how league revenues are shared between clubs and teams.

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