Most sports like baseball, basketball, and football, have stayed in their lane in terms of box office and merchandise revenue. Cards and magazines were the only way for fans to collect items of their favorite teams and players. But as time went on, and certainly most recently, many well-established sports organizations and players are gravitating towards the world of NFTs and cryptocurrency. During the beginning of the Covid pandemic, hobby cards became more valuable as the industry saw a rebirth of hardcore collectors online, unable to visit shows and hobby shops.
With the introduction of NFTs, which mainly focuses on artwork, memes, and videos for ownership on Blockchain, the sports world found a new niche. Panini Cards, for example, maker of physical sports cards, now sells special one-of-a-kind NFT cards of players. This gives mega-fans the opportunity to invest in their teams and players. Finally, OpenSea.IO and a few other platforms are consistently auctioning/selling sports-related NFTs. The room for growth is there, what remains to be seen is if sports NFTs have the ability to actually live up to their potential while expanding their base of collectors.
Recently, NBA star Kevin Durant’s company, “Thirty-Five Ventures”, has signed a huge marketing deal with Coinbase. Durant, an 11-time All-Star and twice a Finals MVP, will push and market Coinbase as the new face for the platform. Other athletes are following Durant’s lead with more players and professional teams figuring out how to digitally crossover. They see the opportunities. The notion of supporting crypto and NFTs has become the 21st century’s most sensible endorsement. Gatorade and underwear ads have fallen to the wayside thanks in large part to streaming services, most of which rarely show advertisements.
With various complaints coming from athletes over the years relating to lower than expected pensions and retirement funds, joining forces with crypto platforms/projects, not only makes sense but is inevitable. The same can be said of sports fans and collectors looking to be part of the community while investing in unique NFTs, hoping the trend will eventually surpass the value of physical cards and collectibles.