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NFT REVIEW As Sports Memorabilia Enters a Digital Age, Enter NFTs and Blockchain


Are physical collectors’ items going to be a thing of the past?  

It looks like it’s going this way with the digitalization of favorite stills and videos of iconic sporting moments through NFTs.  

But didn’t you just love getting those special shiny stickers of your favorite NBA, NFL, or soccer star?  

Well, now it is actually even possible to own a whole iconic moment in the form of an NFT verifiable on blockchain and this is what we are set for in 2022.  The value of each digital still or video will likely depend on the popularity of the athlete as well as the significance of that captured moment, as well as, of course, demand.  

And then there is also additional content that could go with the NFT.  Take a legendary slam dunk digital video by none other than Michael Jordan with running commentary alongside it by Jordan himself, this would make for a very special, limited edition NFT that would be worth fortunes.  Whereas the same video without the commentary with a larger amount of available copies would obviously be worthless.  This is where sports collectibles are going as we move into a digital era; a digital blockchain era.

NFTs and Sporting Entities

NFTs are also going to play a crucial role in the development of sports leagues, teams, individual athletes, and of course, the fans.  2021 saw the largest soccer NFT platform enable approximately $128 million in sales during the first nine months.  A condition of an NFT sale on the platform will be that a certain percentage of the transaction will flow back to the initial rights holder and this will be where sports leagues, teams, and athletes will benefit. 

To add to this, if NFT purchases are made using crypto then the smart contract will enable real-time remuneration to the owners of the preprogrammed rights adding further incentives to leagues, teams, and athletes to engage in the NFT market; afterall, rights managements associated with sports is a very complicated issue.

As for fans, well NFTs can also play a critical role in enhancing the relationship between the right holders, in this case, the leagues, teams, and individual athletes together with the fans.  The reason for this is that owning NFTs can allow interaction and give some level of autonomy for the fan and his or her favorite sports team, for instance. 

In fact, this is already in place in certain parts of the world and with certain entities.  Take Japan where NFT holders are able to vote exclusively on who their player of the month is and in Italy being an NFT holder even allows you to vote on which songs are played in the interval.

Then there’s the even further potential revolution for NFTs with athletes or figureheads potentially endorsing digital, exclusive products.  Take a pair of sneakers, for example, imagine a pair of virtual designer sneakers endorsed by a basketball legend that can only be worn in augmented reality.  This may seem totally illogical for some but it is where the digital world built on blockchain featuring NFTs could be headed towards so best to think of all the potential possibilities.

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