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Sports industry overall has been through loads of changes and transformations over the last few years. Organisations like UEFA have partnered with blockchain based ticketing platforms to sell mobile tickets, while companies such as Socios have taken fan engagement to another level. This has prompted both sports and esports industries to explore alternate streams to maintain fan engagement, while also tackling major issues such as security and transparency. Blockchain may not be there yet, but it’s certainly picking up and has provided loads of solutions that are changing the basic paradigms of the traditional sports industry.

It isn’t future technology anymore, it’s here and sporting organisations around the world are finding innovative ways to utilise it for effective and efficient results. While major football clubs like Manchester City, Barcelona and PSG are using it in their digital strategies, young projects such as Blockchain Sports are building an entire football academy in Brazil incorporating blockchain technology. Through various applications like fan tokens, fan event monitoring, and loyalty networks, the sports ecosystem has achieved an unprecedented level of transparency, efficiency, and convenience for both players and fans alike.

Against the backdrop, there’s a few ways blockchain has changed the dynamic of sports industry:

Enhancing Global Fan Engagement through Tokens

Blockchain technology has revolutionised fan engagement, and one of its key contributions is the introduction of fan tokens. These digital tokens function as virtual currency for sports clubs, allowing fans to purchase them using traditional fiat currencies like dollars, pounds, and euros. Fan tokens provide a gateway to a world of exclusive benefits, including the opportunity to exchange tokens for merchandise, collectibles, and unforgettable experiences. Additionally, token holders gain access to a secure and exclusive community of like-minded fans, where they can actively participate in fan-driven decisions through a mobile voting platform. By possessing these unique tokens, fans and sports enthusiasts experience a heightened sense of connection with their teams, regardless of their physical distance.

Today, both domestic and international clubs and leagues have enthusiastically embraced fan tokens as a means to monetize their fan base and enhance engagement. A remarkable example of their success occurred in 2020 when FC Barcelona released their first round of exclusive fan tokens, which sold out within a mere two hours, generating $1.3 million. The fortunate token owners were granted the opportunity to partake in club-related surveys, including voting for a mural design that would adorn the first-team’s locker room.

However, it is crucial for fan token companies and clubs to ensure that these tokens are not solely utilised as a means of club monetization. The true value lies in activating and delivering meaningful fan engagement and decision-making opportunities for long-term value creation, benefiting all stakeholders, particularly the fans themselves.

Utilising Blockchain for Fan Engagement Platforms

Blockchain technology presents a valuable opportunity for constructing robust fan engagement platforms. Sports teams and clubs can leverage these platforms to develop loyalty programs that incentivize and reward supporters for their active participation in generating and sharing content. BCS Academy led by Blockchain Sports allows just that, digitising players that join the academy, enabling fan engagement from day one. These initiatives foster a sense of community and belonging among supporters while strengthening the club’s relationship with sponsors.  The transparent and open nature of blockchain enables seamless sharing of fan engagement data with advertisers, empowering them to achieve a higher return on investment and optimise their marketing efforts.

Eliminating Ticket Fraud with Blockchain

The sports industry has long grappled with the challenges of ticket touting and counterfeiting, posing significant concerns. However, many sports teams have discovered a powerful solution in blockchain technology, offering effective measures against these issues. The inherent transparency of blockchain enables seamless verification of ticket authenticity, providing reassurance to fans and authorities alike. With the ability to trace tickets back to the originating club, blockchain ensures a secure and legitimate ticketing process.

Moreover, blockchain streamlines ticket transfers by enabling peer-to-peer transactions without the need for intermediaries. This means that fans who are unable to attend an event can safely transfer their tickets to others without incurring penalty fees or relying on centralised entities. This convenience extends to instances of event postponement or cancellation, simplifying the rescheduling process for all parties involved.

By leveraging blockchain, the sports industry takes a significant step towards eliminating ticket fraud, enhancing security, and improving the overall ticketing experience for fans.

Empowering Esports through Blockchain

Esports involves multiple stakeholders, including game creators, sponsors, team management, players, and the media. This intricate web of relationships necessitates numerous transactions, resulting in repetitive information sharing among parties. Additionally, the involvement of intermediaries becomes crucial as it becomes impractical for any single entity to manage and track such extensive data. However, the decentralised nature of blockchain offers a compelling solution by providing a unified platform that connects all these stakeholders, enabling direct interaction without the need for intermediaries.

Utilising blockchain’s programmable smart contracts, a more streamlined process for transferring players, prize money, or media rights emerges. This technology instils confidence by eliminating concerns about unfair distribution of prize money or delayed payments. Moreover, it fosters a sense of togetherness and trust among the esports community.

By embracing blockchain, the esports industry can create a transparent ecosystem that facilitates efficient interactions and transactions, benefiting all involved parties. It simplifies complex processes, enhances security, and builds a foundation of trust, ultimately propelling the growth and development of esports to new heights.

Membership and Digital Cards

Sports teams have traditionally relied on trading cards and souvenirs as a profitable revenue stream. However, with the rise of a new generation of fans who are deeply engaged in gaming and esports, there is a need to embrace digital collectibles. By shifting towards digital trading cards and souvenirs, clubs can keep pace with evolving consumer preferences and appeal to a wider audience. Through the use of blockchain-powered crypto collectibles, teams can create unique or limited-edition items that are authenticated through a secure and transparent digital ledger. We’ve witnessed the massive adoption of SoRare for NFTs for the English Premier League, as well as had clubs like Manchester United produce their own set of digital collectibles which provide rewards in various ways.

In a Nutshell:

Blockchain technology is increasingly playing a crucial role in fan engagement strategies for sports teams and individuals all around the world. We’re witnessing a revolution in Brazil with Blockchain Sports and their football academy, as the innovation is als being embraced internationally by renowned players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. As we eagerly await the start of the game, it is evident that digital solutions for the digital era will revolutionise fan engagement and create exciting opportunities in the sports industry.