Why The MLB Is The Most Innovative League In The World Of Sports
Baseball has been known as Americas past time throughout history; from the industrial revolution, world war I, and the great depression. The sport was able to survive the nations ups and downs in the good and in the bad. Early stars such as Babe Ruth and Sandy Koufax, paved the way for young fans to play the sport and the beginning of team traditions, collectible cards, and rivalries amongst metropolises the early and mid-1900s.
As other sports came onto the scene, Americans started enjoying other sports such as soccer, football, hockey, and basketball. They were more interested in a faster pace, global, and aggressive entertainment not so often offered by the MLB. In fact Baseballs, popularity has been in decline in the past years. Numbers like these left some room for innovation for one of the most profitable leagues in the world.
MLB Is Second In Revenue By Major League Sports
The MLB means business, I mean a multi-billion dollar industry business. Each team plays 162 games every season, giving sold-out stadiums more revenue than their competitors (NFL plays 16 games and NBA 82) and flexibility for TV rights. Now not only teams benefit from the MLB, fans love the game due to their betting heaven system, card and bubblehead collectibles, and the first sports official TV.
“Football is not merely a small business, it’s also a bad one. Anyone who spends any time inside football soon discovers that just as oil is part of the oil business, stupidity is part of the football business.”
― Simon Kuper, Soccernomics
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. However, Soccer leagues around the world have had a reputation for a small business way of thinking. Even with such potential for global growth, soccer took its time to adapt to technology and current trends. In America, the MLB seemed to pioneer an innovative way of thinking about the sports business introducing technology into the sport and beyond. Now major soccer leagues are playing catch up even when their popularity is much bigger worldwide.
The MLB was the first to stream its entire season back in 2002. 16 years later, and MLB games are streamed to millions of subscribers in different platforms ranging from mobile, tablets, and smart TVs. After its debut, the MLB showed their innovative way of thinking, and acceptation of technology not seen in the world of sports.
Card and bubblehead collectibles
Every sport has their own way to attach their fans emotionally. One way is to own a world cup album, baseball card collectibles, and football bubbleheads. Owning such objects, in a way attaches a fan to their favorite players and teams with their passion, thus giving value and an entrance to a multi-billion dollar card collectible industry.
For example, a 1914 Babe Ruth collectible card was sold for $517,000, and a Honus Wagner for $2,8 million. Fans value these collectibles, that's why they are willing to pay a large sum for such cards, especially if they are an authentic, unique, and limited edition.
According to Forbes:
“With over 200 million collectors of varying types worldwide, we see 1 in 3 collectors either currently own or have previously owned at least one sports collectible. This means the overall market on trading cards and sports memorabilia could reach 67 million people.”
We live in a digital world, where traders now value digital goods such as digital farms, restaurants, penguins, and more just like tangible goods. This paved the way for the Web3.0 revolution (blockchain) to intersect with the collectible industry, thus introducing crypto collectibles/NFTs.
crypto collectibles or NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) are tokenized collectibles that are unique, non-fungible, easily interchangeable online and liquidated. they represent the value of a collectible in the form of a token that is traded most of the times with Ether using the ERC721 standard. Use cases have been crypto kitties, soccer players and now MLB baseball cards.
Here is a good explanation of a crypto collectible coming from Decentraland.
A crypto-collectible is a cryptographically unique, non-fungible digital asset. Unlike cryptocurrencies, which require all tokens to be identical, each crypto-collectible token is unique or limited in quantity.
Typically, crypto-collectibles are visualized as real-life objects such as pets or avatars. Each token has variations in specific attributes and there are limits to the number of tokens that can be generated. Often, additional logic in the form of Ethereum smart contracts enables interaction between tokens such as breeding new unique tokens.
Cryptokitties paved the way for NFTs, thus more companies started interacting with the ERC 721 and beyond ERC20. Some Cryptokitties have been sold for thousands of dollars, providing some interest into the NFT development.
MLB crypto baseball
An NFT build on to of Ethereum using the ERC721 standard, and powered by the Lucid Sight team, is the first official and licensed NFT run by a sports league. Just like the MLBtv back in 2002, the MLB is showing their more innovative and forward thinking to adapt to technology and attract more fans into their league. They took a step forward for the card collectible industry providing fans the same aspects as a traditional card but adding:
- More immutable
- Digital Sovereignty
- Probable Scarcity.
There will be 15,000 NFTs launched this season in the form of regular, bronze, silver, gold and special editions so you will be able to own 1–20 unique Mookie Betts, Giancarlo Stanton, Ryan Braun, or Jose Ramirez.
Aside from the collectible value aspect, MLBcryptobaseball offers a sense of fantasy league where you will be able to earn tokens and players for starting your players, thus intersecting two important sports industries. There is a marketplace for users to purchase their favorite players with an auction.
The platform officially launched today (9/7/2018).
The game has over 1000 subscribers on Telegram, 800 in Twitter and Instagram. I am very surprised by the low following on social media because they are an official NFTs for a major league. They are #12 in Dapps according to DappRadar with 202 users interacting in the past 24 hours, a volume of 118 Ethers, and 2,677 transactions. The most expensive NFT sold to date was the 2018 Inaugural Season Trophy sold for 68.863 Ether ($18,000).
A special edition Mookie Betts was sold for 17.62 Ethers ($4,240)
I would advise you to follow this platform as it's in its infancy. The backup of the MLB will bring mass integration towards the platform and the NFTs industry overall.
Will MLB crypto baseball be the killer app blockchain has been waiting for?
Authors end remarks
I am personally not a baseball fan, but I am very involved in the blockchain industry and I believe this is a great step made by the MLB to attract more fans towards their league. Now I am interested in watching tonight's game of the Boston Red Sox vs the Houston Astros as I have a regular Mookie Betts NFT on my lineup and will follow some Cleveland Indian games as I own a bronze Jose Ramirez and a regular Fransisco Lindor crypto collectible.
**Disclaimer: The author owns some of the MLB crypto collectibles.
By Menajem Benchimol.