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NFT, the Complete Overhaul of the Sport Industry

The NFT industry has settled back into the building phase after all the surrounding excitement and hype dissipated. The technology is not just a flash in the pan. Fundamental developments and changes in business models will clear NFTs’ initial reputation of just being expensive jpegs and rich people’s toys. Brilliant ideas are all in the product design and development stage and waiting for a single trigger to kick-start the public adoption phase.

There are already existing examples and experiments on how NFTs and web3 technology revolutionize the sports industry experience. Let’s discuss some of the utilities that enhance our current experiences and create something that has never been done before.

Utilities

Memorabilia

Record-breaking moments and memorable events naturally create sentimental value for audiences and fans. With this, memorabilia are likely to interest them. Instead of physical perks and souvenirs, memorabilia in the form of NFT shares some advantages, like easy storage, better management, undamaged condition, future utilities, etc.

NBA issued the NBA Top Shot NFT collection, which showcases influential “moments” throughout NBA history. Minted on the FLOW blockchain, fans can own these unique basketball moments in the form of NFTs in their hands.

Event Ticketing

NFT event ticketing is already on the way to the American sports industry. In previous articles, we have discussed the benefits of issuing tickets in the form of NFT, like eliminating fraudulent tickets, illegal reselling, a high price in the secondary market, etc. These are just some improvements that could enhance experience and obvious advantages over traditional systems.

In 2021, the NFL announced that it would incorporate NFTs into tickets for 21 select games in the season. Attendees can claim the said NFTs from the email they receive after scanning into the game and sell or exchange them on Ticketmaster’s marketplace. The ticketing giant Ticketmaster has adopted NFT into its system and keeps transforming the ticketing experience for its vast population of users.

Sport Betting

Sports betting is an earning industry itself, operating in grey areas. Fans feel more engagement and participation when betting on their favorite team. Blockchain technology’s emergence allows such betting platforms and their users to work and participate more anonymously. Benefits include no governmental control, no country-based restrictions, transparency for payouts, provably fair odds with algorithms written in smart contracts, etc.

Currently, with the absence of leading protocols or companies operating, the decentralized or web3 sport betting industry is still in the exploring process. Nevertheless, we will see a safer, more transparent, and more convenient betting experience in the near future.

DAO

DAO stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization. In the narrative of the sports industry, a community-led entity would execute the agreed-upon decisions related to development and management decisions for the particular sports team, athletes, or sports association. Voters or decision participants are identified with the ownership of respective NFT, with their voting power, procedure, and responsibilities clearly listed in a decentralized manner.

The league Karate Combat would be a good example. It announced its plan to launch a fan-powered decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) for transitioning its governance to fans and athletes. Many new sports are adopting the latest technology quickly, jumping straight to the unique experience.

Team Ownership

NFT can represent fractional ownership of the underlying assets, which fractionalizing the ownership of sports teams is a whole new experience. It offers decentralization to sports and can include fans, players, and coaches in the decisions and management of the league, instead of just the owners and GMs.

In the case of the Big3 Basketball League, many celebrities and communities from different fields purchase team ownerships with NFTs, including rapper Snoop Dogg, tech entrepreneur Kevin Rose, investor and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, and NFT community DeGods, etc. Owners grant commercial rights to the team brands and management decisions. Their voices towards the development of the league matter too. Such a new ownership system introduces stakeholders from different cultures and backgrounds, diversifying the league and allowing more builders to create values and experiences together.

Athletes financing

Financing athletes is a standard practice in the sports industry, but hard for typical sports fans to participate due to the intermediates and barriers. However, blockchain creates opportunities for everyone by taking away the above.

Through NFTs, fans can participate in an athlete’s community and career, which has never happened before. Fans can have an attractive return on investment, whereas athletes have the alternative to finance their careers. Old or successful athletes might be already able to cover their expenses with their income or prize. Still, such support could offer them an opportunity to go for valuable exceptional investment in their life, like opening their brand or business. Young or up-and-coming talents definitely need the support to kick start their career, with the capital for better nutrients, training, and cover other expenses for being professional athletes.

Getting support from fans instead of just associations or institutions offers athletes fewer restrictions and a closer relationship with fans and the community, establishing a healthier career. Instead of just betting on athletes like on betting sites, supporters could receive exclusive experiences related to engagement with their favorite players. For example, Steph Curry offered his NFT holders fans an all-expenses-paid trip to San Francisco for a memorable meet-and-greet experience with him. The NFT could offer more immersive and engaging experiences between the fans and athletes, providing better fans’ and stars’ relationships with the industry.

Final thoughts

Sports is a popular field with a massive base of participants worldwide. As long as we can offer a better experience and solve existing issues, people will adopt the changes that are good for them. NFTs and new protocols should not exist merely to exist but rather be an improvement and solution to current problems and inefficiencies.

Austin Cheung | NEST®

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