If you've been paying attention to the sports industry lately, then you know that the Metaverse enormously impacts how we experience and interact with sports. From virtual events to augmented reality experiences, it's clear that sports brands are embracing technology significantly.
One way the sports industry is embracing the virtual world is by minting and trading NFTs. In fact, Market Decipher estimates that the sports industry market size was $2.6 billion in 2022, and by 2032, its forecasted to reach 41.6 billion. Moreover, the methods of employing NFTs show how leading sports brands innovate to provide new enhancements for game enthusiasts worldwide.
So, what are some of the most exciting examples of brands making waves in the Metaverse by diving into the world of NFTs? Let's take a look.
First, let's have a quick refresher on what NFTs are. NFT stands for "non-fungible token" and is a special type of digital asset — think art, music, videos, or even virtual collectibles. Non-fungible tokens are unique digital assets that cannot be exchanged or replicated; they are one-of-a-kind pieces of digital property stored on the blockchain and can only be owned by one person at any given time.
Sports NFTs specifically refer to NFTs related to sports organizations or athletes. For example, NBA Top Shot offers limited edition digital collectibles from real NBA moments that fans can purchase as NFTs. These digital collectibles come in videos featuring amazing plays from star players like LeBron James or Steph Curry. Fans can purchase these videos as NFTs to show their love for their favorite team or player.
With NFTs, sports brands can create unique campaigns that authenticate digital assets belonging to them and identify a secure path for digital ownership, preventing duplication or piracy of digital products. NFTs are also helping sports brands expand their customer base by creating larger communities around their offering who value crypto as well as engaging with longer-term customers. By introducing innovative technology like NFTs into their business model, sports brands can open up new channels for consumer interaction and stay ahead of the competition.
Sports brands are minting NFTs to finance, protect, and engage with their fanbase. NFTs also offer a secure way for sports organizations to control the authenticity of digital collectibles, such as game tickets, trading cards, and merchandise.
In addition to using them as a tokenizing tool for their assets, NFTs can also be used to drive user engagement; for instance, by offering exclusive rewards and experiences to those who own certain types of NFTs. As NFT technology is becoming an increasingly integral part of the sporting landscape, solving many issues caused by counterfeit items or misinformation around games and events, it's no wonder why these brands are embracing them with open arms.
The NBA 2K League is one of the most groundbreaking organizations in sports entertainment. It functions as an eSports league for competitive gaming using NBA 2K, with teams from all over North America competing against each other in tournaments and events.
Moreover, the NBA 2K League is leveraging NFT technology to create virtual trading cards with unique tokens associated with their top players. With this, avid fans can access collectible items that previously only existed digitally. BytakingeSportsinto a more mainstream space, this league has broken down barriers between traditional sports and eSports and is helping bridge the gap between them.
McLaren Shadow Project is another great example of how brands leverage the Metaverse to engage fans and create innovative experiences. This project combines physical and virtual elements by allowing gamers to compete against real-world drivers on virtual racetracks. It brings together two distinct groups—gamers and professional drivers—and creates an entirely new way of experiencing motorsports. It also provides gamers access to professional racing equipment they would otherwise not have access to.
McLaren rewards players with exclusive NFTs (racing badges) when they achieve accomplishments and reach certain milestones, creating an incredibly immersive experience that people worldwide can enjoy.
Another example of sports brands jumping into the world of Metaverse and NFTs is Upper Deck. As one of the oldest players in digital trading cards from back when it first became available in 2011, Upper Deck has taken its offerings to an entirely new level within the blockchain technology space. Combining fan-favorite characters with dynamic animations, Upper Deck energizes the entire experience and invites fans to truly engage with their virtual reality experience. Additionally, with easy tracking systems built into their interface, Upper Deck makes it simple for fans to track and follow their collections as they grow over time.
UpperDeckis a brand worth keeping your eye on for any American football fan or true collector as they continue to make groundbreaking strides towards more technological advancements.
So, as a fan, what are the benefits of owning sports NFTs? One of the most significant benefits of owning an NFT is exclusivity – it allows fans to hold something special related to their favorite teams and players without worrying about anyone else owning it. It also helps build relationships between fans and teams/players by giving them something tangible they can hold onto forever – even if they don't have the physical item in hand. And finally, owning an NFT is often much cheaper than buying physical memorabilia (which can get quite expensive), so it's perfect for those who want to support their teams but don't have much money to spend on sports collectibles.
NFTs provide a great way for sports fans to show their support for their favorite teams and players without breaking the bank. In addition, they offer unique pieces of digital property that no one else can access, allowing fans to strengthen their relationship with their team or player like never before.
For sports brands, NFTs provides an innovative way to incentivize customer loyalty and engagement, adding another layer of trust in the brand-consumer relationship. Sports brands have started using NFTs to reward loyal customers with exclusive experiences, collectibles, and access to limited-edition releases, merchandise, and other promotional content.
So, if you're looking for ways to create engaging virtual experiences for your customer base, drop us a message and we’ll help you bridge the gap between the physical and the virtual worlds.