The results of a recent National Research Group survey of 3,250 sports fans from the US, UK, Brazil and Japan could help clubs, leagues and even players learn how to tailor their NFT offerings. According to the report, while two-thirds of sports fans prefer an actual item in their hands, 64 percent are open to learning more about NFTs and would “consider” owning one in the future. According to another study conducted this spring by Seton Hall University, a third (34%) of sports fans had already purchased bitcoin or NFT.
The top motivations for using NFTs among sports fans surveyed by the National Research Group were as follows:
way to earn money (72 percent)
investment vehicles (42%), and
own anything that was limited edition and considered rare (30 percent).
Jay Kaufman, executive vice president and chief athletic officer at NRG who previously served as the NBA’s head of global research and analysis, led the investigation. “Ultimately, the utility of individual NFTs will drive their long-term value more than their beauty.” “Fans will flock to NFT collections that could serve as gateways to unique experiences in the physical world, online metaverse systems, or their favorite video games,” Kaufman writes in NRG’s The New Collectibles study.
NFT sports must provide safety and education
Sports industry stakeholders will need to address fan perceptions of NFTs as a dangerous investment opportunity, with 84% believing there should be more regulation around buying and selling NFTs than currently exists. This figure is akin to OpenSea’s admission in January that 80 percent of the free NFTs generated on its marketplace were copycats or fakes.
Notable NFT frauds in the sports industry include FC Barcelona’s decision last year to end its partnership with NFT marketplace Ownix after the company’s adviser was arrested for crypto-related fraud, and NBA star De’Aaron Fox abruptly shutting down an NFT project his and left behind. investors were left disappointed after spending approximately $1.5 million on the tokens. Michael Carter-Williams, another NBA star, has been fined for a similar technique.
Education about what NFTs are will also be important, as there is a gap between what people think they know about the technology and what they actually know. According to the report, 58 percent of sports viewers believe they have “some” grip on NFTs. However, more than half of sports fans (49 percent) could not offer a proper definition of “NFTs,” according to the same survey.
One key takeaway: nearly half (46%) of sports fans said they would be more likely to attend a sporting event if they received an NFT to commemorate their attendance, something both the NFL and MLB have begun to do. Sports-related NFTs are especially popular among American fans who follow the NBA, WNBA, PGA Tour, UFC, Formula 1 and NASCAR.
Scott Lawin of Candy Digital: Connect NFTs with on-field benefits and real-world fan experiences.
NRG’s analysis highlights the following NFT benefits that fan collectors will be most interested in to capitalize on fan interest:
It allows them to communicate with current and past players.
They get access to a specific seat location, benefits at the stadium such as shorter lines or concessionary discounts and
They have access to a replay of a previously downloaded game.
Scott Lawin, CEO of Candy Digital, recently spoke at SportTechie’s Horizon Summit about connecting NFTs to on-field benefits and real-world fan experiences.
“We really see a continuum between digital only, digital/physical and digital/experiential,” Lawin said. “Some people want a physical object, like an autographed baseball. If they’re lucky enough, they might get a first pitch with the Phillies or a players-fans meet. “You might get a scavenger hunt notification, where you walk around the arena and scan areas to unlock NFTs or rewards. Or it’s a sponsorship night and Budweiser is the sponsor and NFT holders get free beer.” “In the long run, the markets for physical and digital collectibles will not be in direct competition with each other. Instead, they become deeply connected and intertwined,” Kaufman adds in the NRG report. “Buyers will be able to move seamlessly between the two media, and sellers will package physical memorabilia with NFTs – allowing collectors to proudly display their fans both online and in the real world.”
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