The sports industry is known to be relatively slow to embrace new technologies. For years, sports organizations have been lagging behind other industries when it comes to innovation, and this delay often results in missed opportunities to gain competitive advantages through innovative technologies. But that is starting to change.
A perfect example of this is the way that major sports organizations are using blockchain, NFC, and NFT technology to improve fan experiences. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at how these technologies are being used by the sports industry and what benefits they offer to sports events and clubs. Stay until the end to find out how your sports brand can access these benefits with collectID!
What is Blockchain Technology?
Blockchain is a distributed database that allows for secure, transparent, and tamper-proof transactions. Put simply, it is a digital ledger of all transactions that have ever been made. Blockchain technology is often associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but it has many other potential uses. For example, blockchain can be used to create digital contracts, track the provenance of food or drugs, or even streamline supply chains.
In the sports industry, blockchain technology is beginning to be used in a variety of ways. For example, sporting events use blockchain to create digital tickets that cannot be duplicated or counterfeited. This is important because it helps to combat ticket fraud and scalping. Additionally, blockchain-based tickets can be transferred or resold easily and securely. This is a major benefit for fans who can’t make it to a game or event and must sell their tickets in a crunch.
How Does Blockchain Work?
Blockchain works by creating a digital ledger of all transactions that have ever been made. This ledger is then distributed across a network of computers (known as “nodes”). Every time a new transaction is made, it is verified by the nodes and added to the blockchain. This makes it impossible to alter or delete any transaction that has ever been made.
What are NFC and NFTs?
NFC (Near Field Communication) and NFT (Non-Fungible Token) are two technologies that are often used together. NFC allows two devices to communicate when they are close together (usually within 4 cm). NFTs are digital assets that cannot be duplicated or divided like traditional currency. They are unique and therefore have intrinsic value. While NFTs have received a lot of pushback after the FTX collapse, the technology seems to be here to stay and will continue to grow in the coming years, especially when coupled with physical items.
In the sports industry, NFC tags are often embedded in tickets or merchandise so that fans can interact with them using their smartphone. For example, fans might use NFC to access exclusive content and promotions or enter competitions. Additionally, NFC tags can be used to track inventory levels or prevent counterfeiting.
NFTs can also be used in the sports industry. For example, an athlete’s autograph could be turned into an NFT and sold to fans as a collectible item. Alternatively, NFTs could be used to create virtual experiences such as stadium tours or player meet-and-greets.
When NFC tags and NFTs are paired together, they make quite the dynamic duo. An NFC tag could be embedded on memorabilia like a game-worn jersey signed by a player and sold to a fan who receives a unique NFT of the jersey, proof of the jersey’s authenticity, and access to exclusive content available only through that jersey. The possibilities of this technology are endless.
How Can Blockchain, NFC, and NFT Technology Be Used in the Sports Industry?
There are many ways in which blockchain, NFC, and NFT technology can be used to transform both the physical and digital world of sports:
- Digital tickets that cannot be duplicated or counterfeited
- Secure ticket transfers and resales
- Creation of virtual experiences such as stadium tours or player meet-and-greets
- Counterfeit prevention
- Tracking of inventory levels
- Augmented reality (AR) to improve the in-stadium experience
- Phygital products and smart clothes
- Fan tokens to increase fan engagement
- Motion sensors to track performance and measure the progress of professional athletes
How Can Sports Technology Benefit Sports Clubs and Engage Fans?
Innovative technologies in the sports industry such as virtual reality, augmented reality, motion sensors, and analytics are revolutionizing how sports clubs engage fans. Not only do new technologies help sports teams to understand their fans’ behavior and preferences better, but they also provide clubs with a more efficient way to communicate with their followers. Here are some examples sports clubs can obtain by integrating innovative technologies into the communication strategy:
- Fan Engagement and Loyalty: New technologies have the potential to revolutionize the fan experience. From providing immersed 360-degree video experiences to enabling live streaming, sports clubs can use tech-savvy tools to strengthen their fan engagement and loyalty. Additionally, augmented reality has the potential to revolutionize the way that fans watch games by providing them with an immersive experience like never before.
- Improved Marketing Efforts: When fans access an NFT or fan token, clubs receive valuable customer data, allowing them to effectively tailor their marketing efforts and individualize their messaging.
- Lower Costs: Sports organizations often run on slim budgets and finding ways to reduce costs is of keen interest to clubs and teams. The rise of artificial intelligence has enabled brands across all industries to automate their processes, optimize resources, and lower costs.
- Additional Revenue Streams: By creating a digital copy of a fan’s favorite jersey, clubs can offer a unique and rare item that is authenticated through blockchain technology. This not only creates an additional revenue stream for the club but also allows fans to own a piece of their team’s history. In addition, the digital twin/NFT can be sold and traded on the blockchain, creating a secondary market for sports club merchandise.
With all these advantages, it is clear that technology can revolutionize fan engagement at sports clubs.
Sport Innovation Case Study – how blockchain, NFC, and NFT technology were used by 1. FC Köln organization to improve fan experiences
1 FC Köln (FC Cologne) partnered with collectID to embed our technology into 1,000 fan scarves. With a simple scan, fans could register their scarf, transforming it into a tamper-proof ticket for the RheinEnergieSTADION and establishing a direct communication channel with the club. At the gate, fans could tap their scarf against the NFC reader to be admitted to enter the stadium. Once fans had checked in, they received exclusive content and promotional offers from the club and its sponsors, closely related to the events happening on the pitch in real-time.
As a result, FC Köln was able to interact more closely with its fans who entered the stadium and create a new and immediate digital revenue stream by upselling its products and sponsored products, all while offering a secure and engaging ticketing system and a one-of-a-kind matchday experience for heightened fan engagement.
Innovate Today with collectID!
These technologies are still in their infancy but hold great promise for the future of the sports industry. We expect to see more widespread adoption of these technologies over the next few years as organizations look for new ways to improve fan engagement and create new revenue streams. At collectID, we already have the technology and expertise to help your club access the benefits of sports technology. Contact us if you want to be a part of the movement and improve fan experiences today!