According to the research, digital assets have the potential to radically transform how consumers watch sports and connect with their favorite teams.

According to Price Waterhouse Coopers’ (PwC) Sports Outlook 2022 study for North America, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and digital assets are one of the ten significant developments in the sports sector. The paper identifies three major use cases for NFTs and their potential to change the future of sports, ranging from changing sports technological infrastructure to increasing fan involvement.

The first is collectable NFTs, which are assets used to offer collectible, authenticated, and limited edition digital material. This refers to conventional memorabilia, such as player trading cards or ticket stubs from past matches, which may be digitized, minted, and exchanged on the blockchain. According to the research, these treasures may potentially be displayed and shared between metaverses.

The NBA Top Shot from Dapper Labs is the “most well-known” example of a collectable NFT collection. The marketplace tokenizes highlights or the “greatest” plays from NBA history, and it recently placed second in the blockchain gaming sector for the most NFT transactions, with $827 million USD in 2021, behind the Axie Infinity game. Another well-known example is former NFL quarterback Tom Brady’s NFT collectable marketplace Autograph, which just received a $170 million Series B investment.

Second, season ticket member, or STM, NFTs might be a significant use case. Giving season ticket holders validated tokenized passes would improve the experience of an already devoted fan. STMs who are used to receiving extra premium material and stadium experiences may also obtain limited edition collectable NFTs for the games they attend. Sponsors may gain as well if the teams they support allow them to guarantee that consumers who lose their actual tickets do not lose any further perks.

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Finally, virtual access tokens are predicted to be popular among fans who choose to pay extra for a virtual experience but may not be able to attend games in person. Virtual access tokens, which have been described as a new type of season tickets, might provide owners access to additional behind-the-scenes amenities like as player cams, bench cameras, and even virtual locker-room access. Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are two soccer teams that have found success with fan tokens by allowing supporters to influence non-strategic game-day choices such as walk-up music.

According to PwC, the current major income sources for clubs and leagues are ticket sales, media rights, and sponsorship. It anticipates that tokenized tickets, NFT media rights, and sponsorship of digital or metaverse events would fuel the industry’s expansion, while digital asset sales may potentially become a “major” income source. However, teams would require a tech stack that combines their new digital sales data with current customer databases, as well as a competent legal team to address regulatory and tax considerations, according to the research.

All of these phenomena are on the rise, particularly as collaborations between NFT markets and sports bodies gain traction. Magic Eden, a Solana NFT marketplace, just announced a future NFT collection in conjunction with Overtime, a sports entertainment platform, to boost fan engagement during the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball championship.

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