A new report from PwC, one of the Big Four accounting firms, has called non-fungible tokens (NFTs) “the future of digital assets in sports”.
According to the report, titled Sports Industry Outlook 2022, NFTs and digital assets will be one of the ten major trends across the industry in 2022.
PwC sees three key use cases surrounding NFTs’ “potential to shape fan experiences and boost bottom lines”.
The first and most obvious use case is collectible NFTs, which PwC describes as “trading cards for the digital world”. In the future, these collectibles could be displayable and shareable across metaverses.
By digitising traditional sports memorabilia, such as trading cards, ticket stubs, or match highlights, sports organisations can create ecosystems of limited edition digital content for their fans.
NBA Top Shot from Dapper Labs is a highly successful example of a collectible NFT series. It tokenises highlights from NBA history and ranked second behind play-to-earn game Axie Infinity for total value of NFT transactions within the blockchain gaming industry last year.
Another possible use case is turning season ticket passes into NFTs. Tokenised passes would bring a new digital element to fans’ engagement with their clubs.
Special collectible NFTs could be awarded to fans based on how many consecutive seasons they have held a season pass for, and the idea offers a whole host of ideas for sponsors and branding partnerships.
As fans turn to more virtual means of experiencing their favourite sports, a final prominent use case could be found in virtual access tokens. Like a more digitised season pass, virtual access NFTs could offer owners behind-the-scenes perks such as player cams and virtual locker room access.
PwC noted that sponsorships, ticket sales, and media rights currently make up the largest revenue streams for most sports. However, it expects sponsorship of metaverse events, tokenised tickets, and NFT media rights to all contribute to growth in the sports industry.
The report did add that in order for this to be realised, technical and legal teams familiar with blockchain programming and regulations would need to be recruited.
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