The adoption of cryptocurrencies is rapidly reaching all spaces, and sports are no exception. New blockchains, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), gaming, betting, and much more are waiting for us if we mix the crypto world with sports.
To make all of these possible, numerous crypto platforms have collaborated with major sports teams or other companies in the area. If you are a fan of sports activities, don’t miss this short review of those great alliances.
Covid-19 in favor of crypto sports
Before the pandemic by Covid-19, the collaboration between the cryptocurrency industry and the sports industry was already a reality. In 2014, for example, Sacramento Kings was the first sports team to accept Bitcoin (BTC). A year later, Mike Tyson was the first athlete with a Bitcoin ATM with his name on it.
Over the years, many people noticed that blockchain technology is an excellent option for rewarding fans and monetizing their engagement. It also works to find alternative avenues to attract sponsors and other interactions that were previously impossible.
As we know, the Covid-19 pandemic seriously affected the sports industry. In 2020, there was a massive cancellation of in-person events. This resulted in millions of dollars in losses around the world. In this context, the growing cryptocurrency market became a much more attractive alternative for sports fans.
This diversified the revenue stream in the industry to reconnect fans and clubs in a scenario of social distance. It increased the creation of fan tokens and also the creation of NFTs that provided ownership of unique assets, such as photos or videos, tickets to future events, collectible cards, and even autographed T-shirts. The space for crypto sports started to boom. Let’s check below.
Tokens for fans
Chiliz is a blockchain platform that works hand in hand with Socios.com to connect with fans. Through it, sports clubs around the world can create tokens that serve both to reward fans and give fans a voice in polls and voting. In February of this year, the platform reached an alliance with Barcelona Futbol Club to create 50 million $BAR tokens.
Other clubs included in the platform are Manchester City ($CITY), Arsenal ($AFC), Inter Milan ($INTER), Atletico Madrid ($ATM), Paris Saint Germain ($PSG), and 14 other teams. We can already say that these sports have become crypto.
Players paid in crypto
Several players have decided to have their salaries in the form of cryptocurrencies. Among them, several American football players are popular, including Russell Okung from Carolina Panthers, Sean Culkin from Kansas City Chiefs, Trevor Lawrence from Jacksonville Jaguars, and Saquon Barkley from NY Giants.
Also, on the list of bitcoiners are Real Madrid’s David Barral and LA Angels of Major League Baseball’s Shohei Ohtani. Additionally, the football team Oakland A considered paying the salaries with cryptos, and the Australian baseball team Perth Heat will start to do it soon.
Crypto inside sports
Earlier that same year, a Turkish soccer club was the first to buy a player with Bitcoin (BTC). It was the Harunustaspor team, who paid 0.0524 BTC to Omar Faruk Kiroglu. In the case of cryptocurrencies for tickets and merchandise, the Dallas Mavericks stand out. This team began accepting BTC and Ethereum (ETH) in 2019, and in 2021 they added Dogecoin (DOGE) to the list.
The popularity of NFTs in sports
The adoption of NFTs during the last months of 2020 and all of 2021 showed extraordinary growth. Video games and the Play-To-Earn scheme were one of the main phenomena. But the sports weren’t left behind.
For example, the sports NFT platform Sorare reached a value of $4.3 billion in September 2021. This Ethereum-based game is one of the leading platforms in the sports NFT market. Among its biggest partnerships is FC Bayern Munich.
Sorare was created in Paris in 2018. On this platform, users purchase NFT cards representing soccer players from around the world and build teams that compete against each other. Of course, each card is collectible and can be freely traded.
Similarly, it allows actions that are only possible in an NFT market. For example, you can buy a rookie player’s token and watch his price increase as he improves his performance and signs with more and more important teams. This is possible because the game is based on an algorithm that emulates the performance of each player in real life.
The development team behind the legendary CryptoKitties made a strong foray into crypto sports. In 2019, hand in hand with the NBA, they created NBA Top Shot. This is a marketplace that trades NFTs of the most relevant sports moments of the American basketball league.
In September 2021, Dapper Labs made another great alliance. It was with El Campeonato Nacional from Liga de Primera División de España (LaLiga) to create a Top Shot marketplace valued at over $710 million. On this market, ownership of some of the most iconic moments from LaLiga clubs over the past ten seasons will be available for purchase. It will be available from June 2022.
Other partnerships this blockchain company has made include the National Football League (NFL), the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Like these clubs, many are the sports teams around the world interested in NFTs and all the benefits that the crypto world can offer for profit. Thus, it’s only a matter of time before this technology becomes even more common in all kinds of sports.
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