How NFTs Are Shaping the Future of Ticketing
Many people have trouble understanding the utility of NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, for everyday people. Their main utility is currently through the buying and selling of digital collectibles that come in the forms of art, sports trading cards, and music clips. Although collectibles are enjoyable for some, they do not have an enormous use in our society. Some see NFTs as the future of our economy, though, which is hard for many, including myself, to believe. Because of this, I dove deep into possible NFT uses. Where I do think NFTs hold utility is in the ticketing market, as they could encourage validity and collectability, and help teams to improve their data tracking of ticket pricing and fan demographics.
To understand the utility of NFTs, we first need to understand their marketplaces and how each is validated. NFTs are tokens that are stored within a blockchain, which is essentially the technology that allows for cryptocurrency to exist. Each NFT is bought and sold through currencies on different marketplaces. Because of this, NFTs act as collectibles that are bought and sold on a marketplace, just as a physical collectible is sold on eBay or another similar website. These marketplaces exist with different purposes, but each is essentially just a product (the NFT) being sold for money (cryptocurrency). Now that we understand this, we can move into the utility of NFTs as it relates to sports and the ticketing industry.
NFTs have a few possibilities for how they could improve the current ticket market, which starts with fraud in the secondary market. Companies like StubHub and Seat Geek have taken over this space, allowing purchasers of tickets to buy from teams and sell the tickets on secondary, resale sites. As a result, fraudulent tickets are sold, and often there is no way to get your money back as a consumer or for a website to validate tickets. One possible solution to this is NFTs.
If a marketplace was created specifically for buying and selling sporting event tickets, teams could list them directly in the marketplace, and no new tickets could be included in the marketplace. These would be bought and sold through cryptocurrency transactions and would cost the teams nearly nothing to create each NFT ticket. If this marketplace were created, the issue of ticketing fraud could potentially be eliminated online. In the current model of secondary ticketing, we see sellers place fraudulent tickets on sites like Seat Geek and StubHub that are difficult to validate and track. However, with NFT ticketing, blockchain verification allows teams to control and verify tickets in a matter of seconds as they are placed on the market.
Another issue that comes with a single sports ticketing marketplace is the ability of teams to track and evaluate data surrounding ticket resell. The teams and leagues would also be able to track demographics, purchase history, and the likelihood of individuals buying tickets for events. Having this all available on a single database would eliminate significant work for ticket sales teams and help them to better evaluate who is buying their tickets and what amount they are selling for. Individual teams and leagues will then be able to price their tickets more accurately, allowing them to eliminate the secondary market as much as possible.
Lastly, NFTs provide an element of collectability that isn’t necessarily offered by typical tickets, especially not modern tickets that simply arrive in your digital wallet. NFT ticketing allows teams to create personalized ticket designs, similar to that of a season ticket holder when they first receive their physical tickets. These NFTs, which could be personalized photos or branded videos, then become collectors’ items that can be resold on the marketplace well after gameday.
Although a sports ticketing marketplace run through NFTs and blockchain technology isn’t likely in the near future, it does present potentially revolutionary changes to the ticketing industry. The current flaws in sports ticketing, like fraud and difficult data tracking, make the job of both the consumers and the team harder, so there must be a better solution. Though I am not necessarily sold on NFTs and blockchain, looking for ways that they provide utility to us is important, and sports ticketing may be one place we see their utility in the future.