Sport: The most potent, unifying force known to humankind. From the passion it evokes, the time invested, to the raw emotions fans attach to their favorite teams. Sport is more than “just a game” to many. It is a culture — a movement, if you will — that offers a powerful sense of belonging.
While sport is important to fans, fans ultimately wield power. They drive the industry. Without them, sport becomes meaningless. It loses profitability. Teams, leagues, and brands would have no choice but to close shop. It’s the stuff nightmares are made of.
As society evolves, so does technology. The ever-increasing generational gaps only mean one thing: Sports providers must keep up to meet the changing wants and needs of their target demographic.
The question then becomes: How can teams and brands leverage cutting-edge technologies to give fans a better digital experience and, in turn, convert it into a lucrative cash cow? Here’s everything you need to know.
COVID — How the Pandemic Changed Sports
The sporting world has been in flux since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in 2020. Leagues not only had to reassess how their current and upcoming seasons would play out, but the sports industry also had to make sweeping decisions that would change the way games are played and consumed for years to come.
That said, change isn’t a bad thing.
COVID became a catalyst for a different type of fan experience — a digital one. Organizations invested in virtual environments that allowed fans to watch their favorite games online and interact with their famous athletes and teams.
Virtual watch parties, for instance, offered a unique channel through which fans could support their clubs while interacting with other fans and the athletes. The digital realm allowed fans to connect with teams in a way they had never before. It presented a lucrative opportunity for sports providers to enhance their fans’ digital experience and find new ways to cash in on it.
Bridging Sports and Blockchain Solutions — An Industry Game Changer
Barron’s recently published an article about a paper ticket stub that sold for over a quarter-million dollars. It wasn’t just any ticket stub, though. It was a 1984 ticket for Michael Jordan’s debut game.
Our slightly-mature readers might remember the era of trading cards. Some rare baseball cards are worth a whopping $1 million+ today.
You might be confused about where we’re going with this.
While sports memorabilia and trading cards have been wildly popular for decades, the question that leagues and clubs need to be asking is what their evolution might look like. How can these organizations leverage traditional revenue streams to tap into their core gen-Y and gen-Z fan base?
The answer to this lies in blockchain technology.
Many top-level teams and clubs are embracing blockchain-based solutions to ramp up engagement and monetize their ever-growing fan base. Implementing this innovation is critical to the survival of sports clubs and associations in an increasingly competitive space.
With the spurred growth of online events, alongside fans’ evolving habits, the challenge lies in consistently providing alluring digital game-day experiences whose ultimate goal is to:
- Boost attendance
- Boost engagement
- Build loyalty
- Diversify offerings
- Increase membership
- Tap into international fan bases
Blockchain technology unlocks an exciting new frontier in the sports world. From digital collectibles and fan tokens to fan voting — blockchain applications in sports are opening up untapped revenue streams and innovations.
Teams and leagues can now extend their brand online beyond traditional venue-based games to meet the demands of a younger, tech-savvy fan base. Locking in this demographic early on doesn’t just grow clubs’ fan bases; it guarantees that they will be in business for a long time to come.
Top Blockchain-Based Solutions With Proven Results
Blocksport, one of the world’s leading sports-tech providers, offers various blockchain-based solutions. Teams and brands are leveraging their cutting-edge technology to get tailored solutions that deliver tangible business results time and again.
Below is an overview of two blockchain technologies proving quite popular among tech-savvy sports fans.
1. Digital Collectibles and Trading Cards
Crypto collectibles, popularly known as digital collectibles, are virtual assets limited in quantity and provably rare. In other words, they are non-physical “limited edition” items.
Collectibles run on Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), meaning their uniqueness and authenticity can be verified using blockchain technology. Teams and clubs can use NFTs to create digital game memorabilia, trading cards, and eSports gaming assets that their fan base can purchase and trade.
NBA Top Shot is a blockchain-based digital collectibles marketplace for basketball NFTs akin to collecting traditional trading cards. Fans get the chance to own, trade, and sell basketball video clips whose rights are sold exclusively by the NBA. In April 2021, an NBA Top Shot that featured LeBron James emulating a famous Kobe-Bryant-dunk sold for close to $400,000.
Blocksport allows teams and clubs to leverage this same technology to build their limited-edition digital collectibles (trading cards, video clips, etc.) and even offer incentives to fans who collect all team players. There’s no limit to the possibilities.
2. Fan Tokens
One of the main reasons why fan tokens have been gaining popularity among clubs in recent years is their uncanny ability to ramp up engagement. The revenue stream they generate as a by-product is also hard to beat.
Fans can purchase tokens using dollars, pounds, euros, or other acceptable fiat currencies. They can then exchange them for exclusive VIP interactions with their favorite athlete, exclusive merchandise, or premium collectibles.
When Spanish soccer giant FC Barcelona launched its first-ever token sale in June 2020, they sold out, racking an impressive $1.3 million in under two hours. While these trading tokens might be great, Blocksport brings something a little different to the table.
It is currently the only company that offers non-speculative utility fan tokens, specifically designed to drive real fan engagement. Several top-tier clubs are leveraging these tokens to create digital memberships that give fans exclusive perks depending on their membership level. Fans get real value and engagement based on their level, while teams get to build loyalty and cash in on new revenue streams.
The Future Is Now
Generation Y and Z are the new faces of fandom. Understanding their needs and tailoring your brand for the digital realm presents new opportunities for engagement. It’s the key to making them feel more connected to your club. When fans are happy, it’s also a win for the team. Blockchain gives sports clubs and associations the chance to do just that.
Reach out to us to find out how Blocksport can help your sports team implement a custom blockchain solution and unlock new, untapped revenue streams.