How NFTs Are Changing Sports Forever.

Sports are America’s favorite pastime! However, now with the incorporation of non-fungible tokens, the way fans and teams interact will be forever changed. So, how is it that NFTs are changing sports and what effects will this have on your favorite teams?

NFTs are changing sports by allowing the tokenizing of sports moments, player cards, and memorabilia. It is possible now to take the fan interaction and engagement to a whole new level with innovative approaches being developed in advertising, promotions, and income generation opportunities creating value for both the fans and the teams.

If you are a sports fan, you must have heard of the $4.6 million Luka Doncic rookie basketball card that was recently sold at auction. Or maybe you are just shocked to hear that the card of Dallas Mavericks forwards DeMarcus Cousins, which was currently listed for $150,000! All of this is made possible by the clever use of blockchain technology.

How are sport leagues using NFTs?

With the use of NFTs and blockchain technology making such a drastic dent in the financial and related sector of sports leagues, you may be curious how these leagues are using NFTs to their advantage.

Sports leagues such as the NBA are using NFTs to collect in-game clips, mint them on the blockchain, then auction them off to collectors for a profit. Leagues can add further value by including perks in the NFT’s smart contract. Perks can include; VIP access, season tickets, behind the scene interviews and more once purchased.

Let’s look at a few top leagues and see how they are using NFTs.

NBA Top Shot

NBA Top Shot is a blockchain-based platform that allows fans to purchase, sell, and exchange numbered versions of official video highlights.

The National Basketball Association, the NBA Players Association, and Dapper Labs formed a joint venture in July of 2019 to develop NBA Top Shot. Currently NBA Top Shot has emerged as the go-to place for buying and selling digital cards of players and NBA highlights captured in video NFTs. 

A clip is known as a “moment” featuring a LeBron James dunk sold for more than $200,000 on NBA Top Shot in February. Just in the last week of February this year, the blockchain-based online platform saw more than $150 million in sales from NFT highlight clips.

Zed Run

ZED is a digital horse racing game. Here players can purchase, breed, and race digital racehorses to create a stable of racehorses. In ZED, the ultimate aim is to leave a lasting legacy along with developing a valuable stable of winning and rare racehorses. The greater your legacy, the more you can breed and race. If you want to profit you can sell your racehorse after your stable has been built up.

Digital sports cards

Sport trading cards have gone digital. Now you can get rare collector’s pieces and the thrill of trading in sports cards like when you were a kid.

These digital cards are called “moments”. They appear on the screen as rotating, floating digital cubes, each containing a video highlight of an NBA player. They emerged after the Canadian tech start-up Dapper Labs partnered with NBA. With NFTs, they could not only avoid cheap knock-offs but also reap huge profits and relationships with their fans in the process.

Digital sports cards are priced using a variety of criteria, including several special steps based on their serial numbers. The best players in the league have more valuable moments. The more valuable the moment, the more it will cost.

Why are sport leagues using NFTs?

It seems weird that professional sports leagues would be selling digital collectibles online, or does it? Why is it that these professional leagues are now starting to use digital assets and what do they gain from the implementation of this profound technology?

Major sports leagues are using NFTs to create a consumer interaction like never before and as additional means for earning an income. These leagues are creating value by building a collector’s atmosphere, all while potentially adding more value via smart contracts by offering additional perks to the consumers, collectors, and players alike.

While the sale of collectibles and cards is generating income, it is just scratched the surface. Companies like Dapper Labs, the owners of NBA Top Shot, would enter into formal agreements with sports rightsholders and league owners to use official logos and imagery.

Here are some additional ways sport leagues will implement the use of NFTs:

Blockchain-Based Ticket: Ticket scalps and fraudulent sales are the banes in this industry. But that’s all in the past. NFTs can resolve that.

With NFTs, fans are able to check any secondary ticket purchase on the blockchain, but sporting events will also be able to reliably track selling prices and crackdown on scalpers.

Promotion: Fan Loyalty and Engagement Platforms can be created. Companies can now create fan loyalty and engagement networks that help teams cultivate a sense of community and belonging among their fans. Fans can be rewarded for actions such as engaging with club websites, creating, posting, and interacting with content. Even loyalty programs that enable you to earn rewards or points are great ways for promotions using NFTs.

Not only is this a perfect way to connect with supporters and create an exclusive community. Fan loyalty and communication channels can also help clubs improve their relationships with their sponsors as well. With the transparency and immutability of blockchains, these companies can ensure the credibility of the metrics and insights gathered from fan interactions. Hence, sponsors can have more confidence that they will be able to produce a higher ROI.

Advertising: Since NFTs have captured global interest, it has opened up new avenues for brand storytelling and customer engagement. These are the two key pillars of any successful advertising and marketing campaign. NFTs can be used in advertising to: 

• Develop one-of-a-kind brand experiences 

• Raise brand awareness

• Promote engagement 

• Get people’s interest in your offer

 Ultimately, NFTs can help you increase conversions and drive revenue for your company.

Customers are happy to pay for memorable experiences. You can profit from this by converting some of your best ads into NFTs. You can even make an event out of it by auctioning them off. 

What are the advantages of sport league NFTs? 

From a consumer standpoint, I was curious as to what some of the advantages of owning a league’s NFT actually was, so I did some further research, and here’s what I unveiled.

Advantages of sports league NFT’s include:

  • Creating a collectible asset that is easily verifiable
  • Monetizing in-game moments
  • Buy and flip opportunities
  • Consumer perks

Sporting brands own some of the world’s most important intellectual property. These are being sold as memorabilia and collectibles. Companies like Sorare are selling collectibles as digital trading cards as well.

Here are some examples of innovative possibilities of NFTs in Sports Collectibles:

  • NFTs open up a whole new world of co-creation possibilities. Brand artwork and digital collectibles created in collaboration with artists and linked to NFTs.
  • Iconic cultural moments like this could be minted as a digital collectible or limited-edition collection of artwork with NFTs. This can be given to their biggest fans. Imagine the delight the fan would have!

VIP Access: They have also introduced something called a fan engagement token. A fan engagement token is a token that allows fans to have a say in such decisions taken by their favorite sports team. The owner of the tokens would have the ability to vote on club matters such as kit designs, training ground titles, and even charity initiatives. It is sort of like a membership card that allows fans access to exclusive benefits, such as exclusive VIP access and special treatment.

Experiential mementos, scarcity, and exclusivity are the foundations of social standing. 

Imagine if every ticket holder could unlock exclusive access to the digital highlights, AR filters, digital merch, and arts. These can be made possible through NFTs.

Digital-to-In-Real-Life Experiences can be made possible through NFTs.

Where Do You Buy Sport NFTs?

NBA Top Shot’s Marketplace

So, you want to collect some sport NFTs? Then you’re likely wondering where you can purchase these thrilling collectibles.

There are various marketplaces and platforms selling sport-related NFTs and the number will only continue to grow. Here are some of the most promising sport NFT marketplaces to keep your eyes on:

NFT MarketplaceSports League NFTs Offered
NBA Top ShotNBA Moments
Crypto.comVarious sports: F1, Wrestling, Fighting
Dibbs.ioSports cards for many professional leagues
SoRare.comGlobal fantasy football
OpenSea.ioSports collectibles of all kinds and all leagues
Zed.runDigital horse racing

Many in the sports industry has recognized the potential of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to further monetize and increase fan interest, draw advertisers and engage a global market in ways that were previously unthinkable.

Passionate fans, all of whom are digital natives, consume sports and related material well beyond the length of a game. Teams, sporting clubs, and brands are innovating with full fervor so as to use the opportunity to enhance revenue streams and consumer experience. 

We have yet to see how everything unfolds but one thing is certain — the sports industry will never be the same again with NFTs.

About Alex Gomez

Alex is a professional writer based in the U.S. focused on the blockchain industry. With years of experience, he contributes to some of the most recognized publications such as Yahoo, ONE37pm, and others. He previously worked for Gary Vaynerchuk as his NFT editor before going all-in on Cyber Scrilla.