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Sports NFTs Offers Teams, Leagues Guidance

Written by moushouar


A recent study from the National Research Group surveyed 3,250 sports fans from the US, UK, Brazil and Japan, and the findings can help Teams, leagues and even athletes understand how to shape their NFT offerings. The study found that while two-thirds of sports fans prefer a tangible object in hand, 64% of fans are open to the idea of ​​learning more about NFTs and would “consider” purchasing one in the future. In fact, one in three (34%) sports fans say they have already bought cryptocurrency or an NFT, according to a separate study released this spring by Seton Hall University.

Of sports fans surveyed by the National Research Group, the top reasons for using NFTs were as:

  • a way to make money (72%)
  • an investment vehicle (42%), and
  • the ability to own something that was limited edition and considered rare (30%).

Leading the study was Jay Kaufman, the EVP and head of sports at NRG who previously worked as the SVP of global research and insights at the NBA. Ultimately, the long-term value of individual NFTs will be driven by their utility more than their aesthetics. Fans will gravitate towards NFT collections that can act as gateways to unique experiences either in the real-world, in online metaverse platforms, or in their favorite video games,” Kaufman writes in NRG’s The New Collectibles report.

Sports NFTs offerings need to address security, education


Sports industry stakeholders will have to address the note fans have of NFTs being risky investment opportunities, with
84% believing there should be more regulations around the buying and selling of NFTs than there are today. That number is comparable with OpenSea’s admission in January that 80% of NFTs created for free on its marketplace were plagiarized works or fake collections.

Notable NFT fraud in the sports industry has included FC Barcelona’s decision last year to cancel its partnership with NFT marketplace Ownix ​​after a consultant for the company was arrested for crypto-related fraud while NBA star De’Aaron Fox abruptly shut down his NFT project, leaving frustrated investors after they spent roughly $1.5 million on the tokens. Fellow NBA player Michael Carter-Williams has been criticized for a similar scheme.

Education on what exactly NFTs are will be critical as well, as there exists a disconnect between how much people think they know about the technology and what they really know. The study found that 58% of sports fans feel they have at least “some” level of understanding of NFTs. But according to the same study, nearly half of sports fans (49%) were unable to provide the correct definition of “NFTs.”

One important opportunity: Almost half (46%) of sports fans said they would be more likely to attend a sporting event if they received a commemorative NFT for their attendance, which both the NFL and MLB have begun doing. For US fans specifically, interest in sports-related NFTs is especially high for those who follow the NBA, WNBA, PGA Tour, UFCFormula One and NASCAR.

Candy Digital’s Scott Lawin: Connect NFTs with in-Stadium perks, physical fan experiences


To help capitalize on fans’ enthusiasm, NRG’s report highlights the following NFT benefits that fan collectors will be most excited about:

  • It allows them to meet or interact with current or former players.
  • They gain access to sit in a specific area, in-stadium perks such as shorter lines or discounts on concessions, and
  • They obtain access to rewatch a game’s replay that they previously attended.

The idea of ​​connecting NFTs with in-stadium perks and physical fan experiences was recently echoed by Candy Digital CEO Scott Lawin when he spoke at SportTechie’s Horizon Summit.

“We really see a continuum between digital-only, digital/physical, and digital/experiential,” Lawin said. “Some will want a physical item, like a signed baseball. If they’re lucky enough, they might get a first pitch with the Phillies or a meet-and-greet between players and fans. “You could get a notification for a scavenger hunt, where you walk around the stadium and scan areas to unlock NFTs or prizes. Or it’s a sponsorship night, and Budweiser is the sponsors, and NFT holders get a free beer.”

“In the long-run, the markets for physical and digital collectibles won’t be in direct competition with each other. Instead, they will be deeply connected and intertwined,” Kaufman adds in the NRG report. “Buyers will be able to move smoothly between the two mediums, and sellers will package physical pieces of memorabilia with NFTs—allowing collectors to display their fandom proudly both online and in the real world.”



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