We’re seeing more sports capitalising on NFT’s, fintech and blockchain currencies as a new monetisation avenue. This area will continue to accelerate as the sports industry evolves into the digital space. According to Deloitte, NFT’s for sports media are forecasted to generate $2bn+ in transactions this year, double the figure developed in 2021. Deloitte also predicts that 4-5 million global sports fans will receive NFT sports collectables. It’s also expected that exclusive video clips and player cards will be the most lucrative set of NFT’s to populate the metaverse.
One of the most significant sports blockchain movements lies with the iconic Staples Center renaming the Crypto.com arena. The Staples Center held approximately 240 events a year, including multiple Grammy Awards, NBA All-Star Games, boxing matches and more. It’s a new generation for the sports industry to diversify how they engage with their fans and reach new audiences. Affiliating themselves with blockchain and metaverse related entities is a major pathway for them to do so.
The fan token app, Socios.com, has registered 88 sports clubs this year. Some of their partners include PSG, the UFC, Detroit Pistons and more. Reports from the BBC suggest total spend on crypto fan tokens lies in hundred’s of million’s of dollars throughout 2021. By purchasing tokens, fans can gain special prizes for their club/property, including winning rare memorabilia, tickets and voting rights.
There’s pros and cons to the expansion of the sports metaverse. The advantages consist of it benefits sporting properties to build new monetisation pathways, which could ultimately increase the properties overall net worth alongside building a community of ‘super fans’.
Despite this move seeming appealing for fans who can afford to invest in blockchain, it could dilute the relationship’s properties have with their broader audience. For example, for fans to gain voting rights on behalf of their football club, they’ll need to pay additional fees on an app. It keeps fan engagement orientated around a transactional relationship rather than an authentic relationship, which in principle, should be what more properties are aiming for.
Long-term, I can see more sports clubs/properties welcoming blockchain payments to gain tickets, merchandise, and in-stadium goods. Whether it will work out for the better or worse, we’ll have to wait and see.