Since time immemorial, sports has been a passion for human civilization… From racing chariots to cars, the display of speed, strength, and skill has captivated people across time and space. The world of sports has also been constantly evolving to reflect the innovations of the time. For instance, when rudimentary chariots were the norm, these were the vehicles used for racing. Now, with the advancements in technology, we have entered the era of e-sports!
Apart from sports itself, fundamental aspects have also taken on new faces. Owning collectibles and souvenirs, for example, has changed drastically. In Roman gladiator matches of old, oil lamps with the fighters’ likenesses were often bought as sporting memorabilia. Until a few years back, trading cards with images and attributes of players were the collectibles desired by every kid on the block. With the advent of Web3, these collectibles and memorabilia have taken on new forms. Now, NFTs and the world of Web3 meld seamlessly with sports to give fans an even more holistic experience than anyone would have believed possible!
How does Web3 fit into the wild realm of sports? Read on to find out…
Web3 and the World of Sports
A lot has been said about the potential of NFTs and all their diverse applications in an array of industries… As far as sports are concerned, it is definitely worth reiterating how these tokenized collectibles can impact our most beloved games.
Here are a few ways in which Web3 and Sports can take each other to new heights.
- Digital Collectibles
The most obvious way in which sports and Web3 meet is in the concept of collectibles. To pick up where we left off, collectibles of athletes and teams have been ever-changing from decade to decade. With NFTs or non-fungible tokens coming into the picture, digital collectibles have become all the rage. These digital collectibles can be absolutely anything… It can range from player cards to significant sporting moments or even to digitized versions of physical assets! And what’s more, these NFTs can be traded on digital collectible marketplaces for sports in a way that reaches every avid fan.
- Fantasy Sports
In a similar vein to digital collectibles is the concept of fantasy sports. Now it has only been recently that NFTs have been assimilated into the general Web2 pass time. The premise remains the same with the Web3 integration. What changes in the fact that NFTs are introduced as playing cards? These cards are often divided into different classes based on rarity and attributes. Players can buy and sell these NFTs on specific NFT marketplaces and trade them for other player NFTs. With Web3 also comes opportunities for incentives on winning.
- Fan Engagement
Fans have always been the beating heart of any sports franchise. A loyal fan base often has a direct impact on the popularity and even the success of a player or a team. Web3 can serve to connect athletes to their fans and boost engagement on a deeper level. For instance, a sports Web3 project with a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) model can allow fans to even contribute to club decisions. In short, the opinions and suggestions of the fans hold more sway in the functioning of a franchise than ever before. Further, these tokens can let fans participate in meet-and-greet sessions with their favorite players and even get them access to exclusive events. This would mean a more meaningful and cherished connection between a fan and a sport – something sought after by both sides.
A very important use case of NFTs that has been coming up in conversation recently is ticketing. While this is primarily applied in the context of musical concerts, sporting matches can also be more efficiently managed with the integration of ticketing NFTs. As we all know, it isn’t cheap to get seats to an awaited match… And the price goes up several times when scalpers come into the picture. This makes these events inaccessible to even the most ardent of fans. NFT tickets that use blockchain technology can be a very effective solution to this problem. Not only can counterfeit tickets be eliminated, but one can also retrade the tickets on a designated secondary marketplace for a fair price.
Web3 is an up-and-coming iteration of the internet, the use cases for which are being extensively explored. One of the most important applications and one which is being discussed quite often is, of course, in sports. Several sporting teams and independent athletes have endorsed Web3 projects centered around sports and the number is only expected to grow. However, as the Web3 and NFT worlds slowly move from mere collectible value, it would soon become important to focus on the utility of an NFT. That is, while emotion and nostalgia definitely play a role in the ownership of digital collectibles, people are looking for tangible benefits from them. As Web3 becomes more likely to achieve mainstream adoption, this would be an important feature to consider in the not-so-distant future.