Bitcoin (BTC) has been attributed as the most prominent use case for blockchain technology, showcasing the technology’s prowess in successfully delivering a truly decentralized and immutable ledger for the past 13 years. In addition to the years of innovation since then – which saw the introduction of alternative currencies, the non-fungible tokens (NFT), the decentralized finance (DeFi) and more-, a study by fintech giant Deloitte highlighted the untapped potential of the cryptocurrency ecosystem to open up new markets for the sports industry.
Fan tokens and NFTs were first introduced in the esports industry to increase fan engagement through collecting and voting mechanisms. However, Deloitte, a Big 4 accounting firm, predicts that the industry will further embrace crypto and blockchain technology in the coming years:
“A nexus will form around sports collectibles, ticket sales, betting and gaming. We are just beginning to see its potential.” [de la criptomoneda]as well as the new markets to which it could give rise”.
Highlighting incoming trends in the sports industry, Deloitte’s 2022 sports industry outlook report expects an eventual rise in blockchain-enabled innovations, as a result of which “The use of NFTs, cryptocurrencies, fan tokens and ticket innovations will grow and evolve.”
“Going beyond NFTs”, Deloitte expects the sports industry to begin linking viewers to subscriptions through Blockchain technology soon. Although the initial move towards this goal would simply mean associating match tickets with NFTs as a means of rewarding fans, innovations around smart contracting could potentially open up new use cases:
“We could see fractional ownership of season tickets and suites and a reinvention of the ticket resale process.”
As a result, new revenue streams can be created for sports teams and organizers, as smart contracts streamline processes related to pricing and dynamic ticket reselling. However, Deloitte shared four key factors that need to be addressed by the ecosystem: implementing new regulations, educating fans, and considering compliance and tax implications.
Furthermore, the Deloitte study revealed that NFTs catalyzed the merger between the physical and virtual worlds in sports, while predicting more than $2 billion in sports-related NFT transactions in 2022 alone.
As a final note, finserv recommended sports organizations to be attentive to the rise of NFTs and their impact on other segments such as gaming.
Supporting Deloitte’s report on the growing trend of NFTs across the sports industry, Australian media company Basketball Forever recently launched Hoop Hounds, an NFT project aimed at increasing National Basketball Association (NBA) fan engagement and providing substantial real-world utility for the tokens.
The founder of Basketball Forever, Alex Sumsky agreed with Deloitte’s conclusions when he told Cointelegraph that the technology is more than just a JPG-pegged token and allows organizations to offer innovative ways to increase user engagement and give fans real utility.
As part of the initiative, Basketball Forever will offer 8,888 different “hounds” – various basketball and NBA personalities represented as animated dogs – each with unique traits and varying levels of rarity.
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