28 December 2021
The introduction of blockchain technology into sports has shifted the way sports clubs and teams communicate with their fans. It has also provided them with new ways to generate revenue, strengthen relationships with their fans, and become more relevant on the global market.
In addition, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more sports clubs and brands started incorporating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into their revenue-making activities. In fact, sports NFTs are becoming so popular that in 2021, their peak weekly sales in the US reached $138 million.
This article aims to highlight the potential and future impact of non-fungible tokens and blockchain technology in relation to the world of sports and answer why sports fans decide to buy a sports NFT.
Sports NFTs are non-fungible tokens based on blockchain technology used mainly in sports. The most popular type of sports NFTs are digital collectibles, such as trading cards, sports kits, videos or GIFs of the key game moments or important events in the life of your favourite athletes, and memorabilia, which include autographs, trophies, or awards.
Sports sociologists believe that sports are now mainly focused on the fans, spectators, and consumers of sports events and those who make big profits from everything sports related. Therefore, when we observe how the modern world of sports operates, it is difficult not to think about the potential of using the NFT token technology in sports. Considering the inseparable synergy between sports, media, and fans, incorporating NFTs into sports feels like a natural path to follow.
Since NFTs are unique and can be used to verify the authenticity of an item, sports equipment and clothing manufacturers are starting to use them more frequently. What’s more, sports clubs around the world and even athletes themselves are beginning to take advantage of the NFT technology. Combining NFT tokens technology with the sociology and fan culture where collectability plays a vital role offers sports businesses countless potential NFT applications.
The leading global brands producing sports equipment and apparel strive to develop a system that allows their products to use NFT technology. Most of them aim to encourage consumers to buy authentic products. For example, Nike has patented a pioneering system called Cryptokicks, designed to pair physical shoes with an NFT. Cryptokicks allows users to create algorithmically designed footwear from two digital versions of their chosen sneaker pairs. Furthermore, this unique footwear can be sold as a collector's item in the form of NFT tokens.
In addition, NFT tokens can be used to build a platform that offers exclusive digital items, such as NFT trading cards with a portrait of an athlete or photos that have never been published before. NFT technology is also used in online games where NFT cardholders can play against each other or join forces in a virtual competition. Alternatively, other NFT uses in sports include generating videos and GIFs with the most memorable game moments or the most important events in the career of a famous athlete.
Finally, the NFT token technology has become an important breakthrough for charities. NFTs allow global charities to raise funds more authentically. Many famous athletes now issue NFT tokens and donate the revenue to charities around the world.
Basketball and football were the first domains of sports that started adopting NFTs into their activities. Additionally, platforms such as Crypto.com, Mintable, or Opensea allow fans to buy a sports NFT related to sports like Formula 1, tennis, car racing, or even horse racing. What’s more, a new partnership between NextHash (a cryptocurrency blockchain platform) and the South African cycling team Qhubeka has been announced and is rumoured to introduce NFTs into cycling soon. NextHash has also recently partnered with Eoin Morgan, introducing the world of blockchain technology into cricket.
If you’re an avid sports fan, you can buy a sports NFT in many forms. Currently, the most popular NFTs in sports are fan tokens. These tokens allow fans to get closer to their favorite sports teams or athletes. They also provide fans with the opportunity to become part of the decision-making process and the life of their favourite sports team or athlete. What’s more, sports NFTs, such as fan tokens, provide an increased level of immersion for the fans and give them additional benefits, such as access to VIP passes.
Currently, the three biggest platforms where fans can buy a sports NFT are OpenSea, Rarible, and AirNFTs.
OpenSea is the biggest marketplace for crypto collectibles and NFTs of all types. IF you’re a sports fan, OpenSea allows you to buy a sports NFT in the form of trading cards, digital sports items, or other sports collectibles. This platform will enable you to browse, buy, and sell NFTs in different sports fields, such as football, racing, or even golf.
AirNFT is an NFT marketplace where you can create and trade NFTs easily. Within the platform, AirNFT has a dedicated sports NFT marketplace where fans can buy a sports NFT in the form of cards, posters, memorabilia, and other collectibles. The platform also allows you to create sport related NFTs for less than $1.
You can also easily buy a sports NFT collectible on Rarible, an Ethereum-based platform where you can create, buy, or sell non-fungible tokens. On Rarible, you can find different sports NFTs, such as digital trading cards, sports art, and more.
NFTs are reshaping the way the world perceives sports. The fans who decide to buy a sports NFT do it mostly to gain a more profound sense of relationship with their favourite teams or athletes. Some sports fans choose to purchase a sports NFT because they consider it to be a rare collectible that they must have in their possession. On the other hand, for sports teams and athletes, the introduction of sports NFTs means gaining new ways to generate revenue and building a stronger relationship with their fanbase. This is why sports and NFTs fit so well together.