Long before the advent of blockchain technology, collectibles were extremely popular among sports fans, constituting a valuable revenue stream for teams and clubs across many different sports. The estimated size of the global collectibles market has already reached some $370 billion and, thanks to the new wave of digitisation led by the rise in popularity of eSports and gaming, the shape of sports collectibles is changing, with blockchain digital collectibles (often referred to as crypto collectibles) gaining traction fast.

Younger fans no longer want to trade tattered physical cards, apparel, or other sporting memorabilia as digital trading cards meet the needs of a new generation of digital natives. This is where blockchain technology comes into its own addressing the challenges of traditional collectibles with instant verification of authenticity, provable ownership, traceability, immutability, peer-to-peer trading, and the ability to create provably-unique collectibles, powered by Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

According to TechCrunch, people have an innate propensity to collect. This drives the purchase and exchange of collectible goods like art, pop culture, games, antiques, sports memorabilia, and more. Moving this arena onto the blockchain is allowing struggling sports clubs, battered by the effects of COVID-19 on ticket sales, to increase fan engagement and generate more revenue.

Blockchain Digital Collectibles

Blockchain digital collectibles (crypto collectibles) are changing the game off the playing field, providing fans with individually-unique or provably-scarce digital memorabilia that’s secure, interoperable, easily transferable and verifiable. Unlike cryptocurrencies, crypto collectibles (i.e. blockchain-powered digital collectibles) are Non-Fungible tokens (NFTs) that can be limited in quantity. These enable clubs to launch limited-edition series (and even unique one-off creations), assigned with an individual identity that can be instantly verified by immutable blockchain technology.

At a time when many sporting events are still being held spectator-free, or only viewable online or via TV, digital collectibles for sports are enabling clubs to claw back revenue and build bigger fan bases with greater engagement. Fans can trade and compete for collectibles of their favourite players — and pay decent money to obtain them. Unlike traditional collectibles that can be easily forged or replicated, a blockchain can track digital collectibles’ lifecycles and entire ownership history forever, meaning fans benefit from more complete ownership of their assets.

Moreover, thanks to their immutability, once an NFT-powered collectible is generated, it can never be destroyed or tampered with, its condition won’t deteriorate over time and its authenticity cannot be questioned.

Many of the largest sporting clubs and leagues in the world right now are embracing digital collectibles for sports, including Italian football giant Juventus, top Spanish League Club FC Barcelona, and Major League Baseball in the USA. They’ve all launched digital collectibles of their star players using blockchain technology and are reaping the many benefits.

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NFT Technology

At the core of digital collectibles is Non-Fungible Token (NFT) Technology that provides the infrastructure for digital trading cards and other digital collectibles. NFTs have many advantages over traditional collectibles. They enable the creation of rare and unique items that can’t be destroyed, replicated or forged, and that come with an immutable history. Plus, they will never deteriorate over time like their physical counterparts. They can also be traded securely on a peer-to-peer basis and sold and exchanged for local fiat currencies.

By utilizing Non-Fungible tokens, teams and organizations can create their own in-game assets, trading cards, and other types of blockchain digital collectibles to coincide with their own marketing initiatives. Results are easily traceable as each one has its own identifier that makes it unique to its owner.

As consumer habits change due to social distancing and limited sporting events, in tandem with the rapid rise and popularity of eSports that has a year-on-year growth of 15.7+%, more and more clubs are turning to blockchain-powered digital collectibles as part of their digital strategies. Not only can they generate new revenue streams but they can also grow their fan bases through trading cards, games, competitions, and limited-edition collectibles.

Given all the additional challenges facing the sports industry today, digital collectibles allow clubs and teams to keep in touch with their global fans, appeal to them on a platform they’re already familiar with (the internet), and generate additional sources of income.

By being easy to trade with one another, digital collectibles also give fans a deeper sense of belonging to the club and a semblance of the camaraderie that they’re not getting at the stadium right now. It’s no wonder, then, that crypto collectibles are making the headlines and becoming a key strategic area in the sports industry.

How Protokol Can Help

If you’re looking to unlock the power of blockchain for your club or team, Protokol offers customised blockchain solutions for the sports industry. We have developed a set of NFT solutions and applications that enable us to quickly adapt and scale to your specific needs, whether you want to create digital collectibles in the form of limited edition player cards, or any other type of digital sporting memorabilia.

Our highly, adaptable blockchain technology is both secure and interoperable, not to mention easy to integrate. In this way, you’ll benefit from a custom solution that easily integrates with your existing infrastructure; from team mobile apps to your online store. We can also help you scale your solution to further engage and monetize your fan base through blockchain-powered fan loyalty platforms, and revenue-generating blockchain fan tokens.

Learn about our blockchain solutions for your team today by contacting us for a free consultation. Get ready to unlock new revenue streams, appeal to a younger more tech-savvy fan base, and secure your club’s longevity well into the future.

Digital Collectible Solutions

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