An analysis of 1,500 adults in the United States showed that 57% of households had digital assets and 24% did not. David Arends, a New York Rangers fan, had never purchased an NFT. However, when he found out that his favorite hockey team would be releasing a set of digital tokens in commemoration of the retirement of Henrik Lundqvist’s legendary goalie, he thought it might make a great addition to his collection.
Arends bought two NFTs for $20 each. These were images of tickets to the evening dedicated to Lundqvist’s 15-year Rangers career. A banner with his name was lifted to the topof Madison Square Garden while fans cheered. Arends would later take screenshots of the NFTs, have them framed and hang them on his wall alongside a signed photo of the goalie.
Arends stated that she would never trade or give it away. She also said that it was hers and she will keep it. “It’s more sentimental to me.”
Every day, the world of sports becomes more saturated with cryptocurrency ads , sponsorships and collaborations. These appear to be driving more people into Web3 space.
Recent Seton Hall University survey among 1,500 adults in the United States shows a growing overlap between sports fans and those who have purchased NFTs or cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. This poll revealed that 57% households have digital assets. This is more than twice the rate found in households without one.
Daniel Ladik, a Seton Hall marketing professor, and poll methodologist, stated that “even though we are still in the early innings crypto and NFT ownership”, but sports fans have shown a proclivity to engage in these markets.”
Celebrities like Matt Damon have likely had something to do promoting cryptocurrency. According to Nielsen , the Super Bowl is the most watched television event of the year. This year’s game featured spots from eToro and Crypto.com. More than 100 million U.S. households saw the Super Bowl at home, according to .
Major crypto companies have invested money in sponsorships, as well as TV advertising. Crypto.com paid $700 million to acquire the naming rights for what was previously known as the Staples Center Los Angeles. In 2021, the exchange made a deal to partner with the UFC. The deal included Crypto.com’s logo of the lions-head on fighters’ uniforms and the center of the Octagon. The UFC also has a logo deal with VeChain.
Non-fungible tokens–blockchain-verified proof of ownership of digital or actual items–have created a fresh avenue for companies and sports leagues to connect with fans and turn everything from ticket sales to pictures of sneakers to video clips into collectibles.
As a promotion tool, packs of cigarettes contained paper cards featuring baseball players. This started the tradition of collecting baseball card. Many fans now enjoy digital collectibles.
Seton Hall polled found that people who had traded or owned NFTs or cryptocurrencies were mostly 18-34 years old (42%), compared to just 7% for those 55 and older (7%). Survey results also showed that 47% of respondents were male and 14% were female.
Ladik stated that NFTs can be a significant source of revenue and a new avenue for fan connection for brands. Interactive assets such as NFTs are key to brand success in a digital age. They can create a sense belonging and holder equity, which is crucial for brands.
The NFL and NBA have all ventured into NFT space. Dapper Labs helped create NFL All Day, NBATop Shot and UFC Strike on Dapper’s Flow blockchain.
NBA Top Shot was the first NFT project to be approved by a major league sports league. It recently surpassed $1 billion in total sales volume according to Cryptoslam.
Dapper Labs projects aren’t all the sports-focused collectibles on Flow. The blockchain’s consumer-facing nature was the reason NFT Genius founder Jeremy Born created the Gia marketplace to make it the ecosystem of Ballerz. This is a collection of pixelated players who primarily serve as PRFPs (profile photos).
Born stated that if there is any friction in the crypto space, as it has been for the past 10 years, it will stop a lot people from coming into the space.” Decrypt noted that some wallets have complicated setups, which could turn off potential users. It’s intimidating for an average person to try and figure out Metamask.
Born stressed that NFTs are increasing crypto adoption among athletes as well as sports fans.
Von Miller and Steph Curry are just two examples of icons who have taken to sharing NFTs via Twitter. Tom Brady also has Autograph, his own NFT business that is partnered with DraftKings Marketplace.
Born suggested that the new status symbol for professional athletes could be a Bored Ape . Born said that if the “flex” was simply posting photos of celebrities with expensive cars and watches, then a Bored Ape would be the best. Fans want a PFP Flex, it’s only fair.