In its 2022 Sports Outlook report for North America, business giants PwC identified NFTs as one of the ten major trends within the sports industry throughout the past year. The report outlined three different areas in which the digital asset has (or can) expand into, in order to be fully leveraged within sports entertainment.
The first area is ‘Collectible NFTs,’ which is already relatively rife within the sports industry thanks to the likes of NBA Top Shot, Autograph, and Sorare. In essence, PwC see these collectible items, whether manifested as a trading card of a player, a ticket stub of a memorable match, or any other form of authentic content, as something that will becoming increasingly prevalent across the metaverse as Web3 developments continue.
The second area PwC identified is the use of Season Ticket Member (STM) NFTs. STM NFTs provide a digital alternative to a traditional season ticket, allowing holders to elevate their fan experience even further through the provision of augmented functions such as access to stadium experiences, the issuing of special edition NFTs for specific games holders to attend, or any other creative avenue of additional content.
The third and final avenue identified by PwC is NFTs serving as ‘Virtual Access Tokens’ (VAT). VATs would hypothetically have a huge demand base, whether that is through international fans who can never attend in-person matches/events, or simply from those who would prefer a virtual experience.
Similar to STM NFTs, a VAT could be embedded with a whole host of creative (but virtual) perks, however in addition, it could also grant holders access to behind-the-scenes action, such as player cams, bench cams, or even virtual locker-room access. VAT-like assets have already been explored by the likes of Manchester City and PSG, who’ve both allowed its fan token system to make non-critical match day decisions, such as which ‘walk out’ should be used.
All in all, and whilst PwC acknowledge that ticket sales, media rights, and sponsorship deals remain as the paramount revenue stream for professional sporting institutions for now, the business forecasters expect NFTs, through the avenues mentioned above, to become a serious revenue stream in the future. It’s certainly an exciting time for NFT-come-sporting fanatics.
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