Sports NFTs are helping to build closer relationships between athletes and clubs and their fans through digital collectibles and special perks for NFT holders.
Posted June 26, 2023 at 6:03 am EST.
The world of sports is undergoing a digital revolution with the emergence of sports NFTs. These unique digital assets built on blockchain technology reshape how fans engage with their favorite sports and athletes.
Read on to learn what sports NFTs are, how they work, and discover examples of popular sports NFTs you can explore.
What Are Sports NFTs?
Sports NFTs are unique digital assets built on a blockchain to represent various items, special moments, or other aspects of the sports industry.
They may include virtual player cards, team memorabilia, iconic sports moments in the form of images, GIFs or videos, virtual tickets, and other sports-related items of value. Sports NFTs are tradable on marketplaces such as Rarible and OpenSea. Some sports NFTs also act as fan club membership that grants holders exclusive perks such as access to private training sessions, exclusive meet-and-greet events, etc.
NFTs leverage blockchain technology to offer a secure and decentralized manner in which anyone can verify the ownership, rarity, and authenticity of digital assets. As a result, fans and collectors are able to connect with their favorite teams and athletes in a new way.
Similarly, athletes, clubs, and other sports brands can benefit from this new and direct-to-fan method of brand monetization.
How Do Sports NFTs Work?
As the sports NFTs industry matures, we will see even more practical applications bound to transform the industry. Below are some examples of existing types of sports NFTs and how they work.
Memorabilia are unique items or artifacts that help people commemorate some historical or captivating moments in sports history. These items, such as autographs, photographs, boots, jerseys, and trophies, allow individuals to cherish and relive memorable events, athletes, or matches.
The emergence of sports NFTs has revolutionized this concept, enabling the tokenization and digital acquisition of these prized memorabilia. Collectors and enthusiasts can now own and trade these digital representations of sports artifacts, expanding the possibilities of preserving and celebrating sporting heritage in the digital realm.
Trading cards play a significant role in some sports, such as baseball and hockey. Moreover, collecting trading cards is one of the most effective ways of supporting an athlete. Tokenizing trading cards on the blockchain as NFTs can enhance the value of these prized cards. The digital NFT trading cards are not tangible, but they act as a virtual ‘title deed,’ proving your ownership of a specific card in the physical world.
Sports kits NFTs may include a wide range of items such as jerseys, boots, wristbands, and more. Buying a sports kit NFT not only gives ownership of the digital asset but also signifies that you possess the corresponding physical item. When trading such an NFT, the seller would need to include the actual physical item together with the NFT. This unique integration of physical and digital ownership provides a unique and new experience for both collectors and sports fans.
Holding certain sports NFTs gives you access to exclusive perks or experiences. For example, a sporting event may offer virtual NFT tickets, which give access to benefits such as the ability to listen in to behind the scene conversations between the coaches and players. In another case, holders of a specific sports NFT may grant access to benefits such as autographs, limited edition merchandise, exclusive discounts on game tickets, etc.
Popular Sports NFT Brands
Below are some of the most popular sports NFT brands that have revolutionized how fans engage with their favorite sports and athletes.
NBA Topshot is a virtual trading card platform built by Dapper Labs (the creators of CryptoKitties). It runs on the FLOW blockchain and is officially licensed by the NBA Players Association to create NFTs of shot videos showcasing various fascinating game events. These include slam dunks, cross-overs, three-pointers, and other exciting gameplays known as ‘Moments.’
NFL Allday is another project by Dapper Labs in partnership with the National Football League (NFL). It’s a trading card game that allows fans to buy and collect NFTs of memorable moments and athletes in the NFL. NFL Allday runs on the FLOW blockchain.
Sorare is a fantasy football trading cards game. It allows players to step into the role of a football manager. Through virtual cards, users can assemble teams consisting of five players, with each card representing a real-world football player. The performance of these players in actual, real-world matches directly influences the outcomes within the engaging world of Sorare.
Top Sports NFTs Marketplaces
You can buy sports NFTs from various marketplaces. Let’s look at three of the most popular platforms to buy and sell NFTs related to sports.
Autograph is a sports NFT marketplace launched by Tom Brady, the American football icon. Autograph lists limited edition sports collectibles signed by top athletes. These include Tom Brady himself, Tony Hawk, Tiger Woods, Naomi Osaka, and Devin Booker, just to name a few.
OpenSea is the largest NFT marketplace in the world. It allows anyone to mint, sell or buy an NFT. The platform contains all kinds of NFTs, from sports NFTs to music, games, and digital art.
Rarible is a highly popular NFT marketplace where people can mint, buy, and sell sports NFTs. It’s touted as a ‘community-centered NFT marketplace’ which sells all kinds of digital collectibles besides sports NFTs. The platform supports NFTs that are native to different blockchain platforms, including Tezos, Flow, Polygon, and Ethereum.