Things have changed in the world of Sports in the past few months. With the Coronavirus preventing people from gathering in large crowds and interest in cryptoassets and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) on the rise, there’s strong evidence that crypto could truly alter the way professional and collegiate athletics works now and for the foreseeable future…
In the last year alone, the sports world has witnessed an immense rebalancing of financial opportunity. High school basketball players are opting to sign professional contracts overseas instead of playing in college. College athletes are cashing in on endorsements now that the NCAA has changed its name, image and likeness (NIL) rules. Sports betting is legal in over 20 states and counting. With the floodgates of opportunity opening with the ease of regulations, here’s how cryptocurrency could have a lasting impact on the future of professional and collegiate athletics.
Well over 100 years old, the NCAA’s latest move has changed the game for athletes
Since the change to the NCAA’s NIL rules in July, we’ve seen two college athletes partner with Rally to launch their own social tokens. In the broader cryptocurrency sector, it’s easy to see social tokens as a sort of gimmick, more functional as a way for celebrities to monetize their status than an actual investment or store of value.
But it’s very possible that in the world of sports, social tokens will become a trend that captivates fans of all levels. If you’ve ever watched a nationally ranked prospect at one of their High School games, you’ve probably had this thought:
‘Wow, if I could invest in a player’s future, that’s the person I’d pick!’
A similar thought creeps into my mind anytime I watch the draft for a major sports league, constantly trying to pick out the diamonds in the rough and stake my claim on their future stardom for bragging rights down the line. But what if there was a way to financially invest in these players for the payoff of money instead of bragging rights? What if players signed deals that connected their social tokens to contracts, paying out owners a fraction of the massive deals signed once they made it big?
While the premise may seem far-fetched, it could revolutionize the way fans connect to their favorite athletes by creating monetary relationships between them.
With the sports gambling industry barreling into the mainstream with each passing month, it’s only a matter of time until crypto gambling reaches similar levels of popularity. As it currently stands, gambling on sports with cryptocurrency is only legal in one state—Wyoming.
While it could take years for some of the more populous states to adopt crypto gambling, when they do, it will create an entirely new billion dollar industry. I think that it’s unlikely we see the current titans of the gambling space, names like DraftKings , for example, build out successful crypto wings to capture the new market.
It’s most likely that new companies take hold of the space, possibly in partnership with some of the major exchanges. Since we’re talking about a development that might not take place for a matter of years, no one can even predict what the crypto space will look like at that time. But if you’re like me, and believe that the adoption of Blockchain will only increase with each year the technology does, it’s very likely that, within the next decade, we’ll be living in a world where sports betters prefer to wager in their cryptocurrency of choice instead of the US dollar.
Crypto may one day play an integral role in the world of gambling and sports betting
When we talk about the future of NFTs in the realm of sports, most will bring up the obvious comparison between the trading card market and the potential for an equally popular digital one. Already, companies like NBA Top Shot have been madly successful in monetizing the collectability aspect of sports moments and scaling their models to different fan bases.
NBA Top Shot are playing for keeps in the NFT Industry
While the digital sports card model will undoubtedly thrive, Blockchain technology is likely to have an important effect on sports in other ways. I envision a future where every ticket purchased to every sporting event is expressed as an NFT, and owners can look back on decades of games they attended with permanent keepsakes.
For so long, sports fans have been living through an era of live events that lack originality—people are tired of getting commemorative t-shirts at games with an email receipt of their ticket—they’d much rather have NFTs, or fan tokens, or access to future digital metaverse experiences with the purchase of their tickets, and it’s only a matter of time before franchises recognize this and begin integrating cryptocurrency into every aspect of the fan experience.
As valuable as the World Series home run ball will continue to be, the NFT of the seat’s ticket will also be a worthwhile keepsake. But unlike a physical ball, the value of the ticket on a secondary market will not be riddled with doubts of authenticity…