The sports industry is one of the most booming industries around the world. Be it football, cricket, hockey or basketball, people are always passionate about sports. Whether it is playing the games or supporting a sports team, people go to the extremes with their enthusiasm. The COVID-19 pandemic has limited sports a lot. The experts in the industry are quickly thinking of new ways to keep the enthusiasts connected even in a world dominated by social distancing. How are they doing all this? Through Blockchain Technology, of course!
To put it simply, it’s all about the revenue and fan experience. The industry needed to revolutionize the revenue streams and nothing could do it better than blockchain technology. The experts came up with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) crypto-sponsorships and even fan tokens.
The crypto partnerships or sponsorships have been active since 2014 when BitPay, a US-based bitcoin payment processor signed a sponsorship deal with ESPN Events to promote Bitcoin. Then in 2018 CashBet became the Arsenal Football CLubs official blockchain partner and Litecoin became UFC 232 official crypto partner.
In 2020, eToro partnered with Premier League teams to promote its crypto-trading service and in March 2021, Crypto.com partnered with Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One. These successful partnerships show the acceptance of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in the sports industry. The partnerships mentioned here are between industry giants who have a great fan following and through these efforts, beneficial information about cryptos has spread among millions of sports enthusiasts around the world.
When it comes to the uses of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in the sports industry, we’ll don’t fall short of pointers. Cryptos such as Bitcoin are being accepted as payment methods in the sports industry. Fans can purchase tickets and souvenirs using cryptos while benefiting from the low transaction fees.
Examples include Harunustaspor, a Turkish football club, purchasing player Omar Faruk Kiroglu using Bitcoin and Payment companies allowing people to buy FIFA World Cup 2018 tickets using Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Gibraltar United Football Club also paid a portion of its players’ salaries in cryptocurrency.
Intelligent sports clubs have implemented blockchain technology to add transparency and security in the ticket exchange markets. In 2020, Lancashire Cricket collaborated with TIXnGO to develop a blockchain mobile tickets platform. It worked with SecuTix to create encrypted tickets for smartphones that were traceable and genuine.
Interestingly, it’s not just payments in cryptos, the sports industry has also dived into Fan Tokens and crypto-collectables (NFT). NFTs are digital assets on the blockchain and are tangible and intangible items that can be stored in digital wallets. Unlike their fungible counterparts, NFT is not interchangeable and every NFT is a unique digital item.
NFT can be used in the trading cards and collectables market. After all, it is a multi-million dollar industry that enables sports enthusiasts to immortalise sporting moments. What could be better than having these on the Blockchain and traded later on?
NBA’s Top Shot is a blockchain-powered trading card system that offers NBA-licensed digital items. The company has already generated a staggering US$230 million in gross sales. Then there’s the blockchain-based fantasy football game called Sorare. It was made on the Ethereum blockchain and allowed players to buy and sell digital football cards.
A lot has already been done in the sports industry using Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, but this is still just scratching the surface of the plethora of uses this technology offers. We’ll see many new implementations in the future and people active in the crypto industry will definitely amass great profits.