If you’re a sports fan, you may have noticed the growing prominence of crypto logos displayed in stadium arenas, halftime advertisements and your favorite athletes’ jerseys. According to a report by Nielsen, crypto deals with sports teams and leagues grew over 100% in 2021 and are expected to reach $5 billion by 2026.
The rationale for crypto firms teaming up with sports leagues is based on age-old marketing strategies — tapping on the sports industries’ millions of fans worldwide to gain mass exposure, drive brand awareness and gain conversions. Despite the fact that crypto is a relatively new player in the sports industry, what it offers brings promising developments not just for the sports teams, but also the fans.
With benefits of borderless payments and fast transaction speeds, it comes as no surprise for crypto to be used in the purchasing of sports tickets. During the FIFA 2018 World Cup, Russian organizers worked with payment solution providers, Wirex and ePayments, allowing non-Russian soccer fans to make seamless transactions, thus saving the hassle and costs of international wire transfers.
Sports teams too are showing a growing interest in cryptocurrency payments, albeit from a salary standpoint. In July 2022, New York Yankees made headlines when they offered players and staff the option to convert their salaries to bitcoin via the NYDIG platform. In a similar vein, more and more athletes are opting to receive part of their salary in crypto, with big names such as football star Odell Bekham Jr., to UFC fighter, Luana Pinherio, jumping on the bandwagon.
Considering the short lifespan of an athlete’s career, this move makes sense from a long-term perspective. Not only does it provide investment value and act as a hedge against inflation, paying out salaries in bitcoin creates a unique incentive, allowing sports teams to attract and retain the best talents.
Do you fantasize about managing your favorite sports team? Well, now you can with Fan Tokens. Fan Tokens are, in essence, sports cryptocurrencies with the upside of VIP membership. They are utility tokens which allow holders to support their favorite teams, while getting access to unique experiences, merchandise and even vote on club decisions. Fans from anywhere in the world can now gain insider access and participate in the decision-making process — voting on charity initiatives or even deciding on jersey designs — cultivating the feeling of being one with the team.
Apart from membership perks, Fan Tokens provide investment benefits for holders. Prices of Fan Tokens depend on the demand for the tokens, its utility, as well as the teams’ reputation. In the case of FC Barcelona, their first round of $BAR Fan Tokens sold out in less than two hours, raising a grand total of $1.3 million. Similarly, news of football legend Lionel Messi signing on with Paris Saint-Germain F.C. sent ripples across the community. This caused their $PSG token to appreciate in value overnight, much to the delight of fans.
Overall, Fan Tokens increase interactivity between sports teams and fans while creating a stronger sense of community. If you’re a football fan, you’re in luck — now you can score multiple wins with the Fan Token Zone on Bybit’s Spot platform. With seven tokens from top football clubs, the passion for soccer is combined with a next-level trading experience and exclusive rewards. Find out more here.
Mention the phrase “sports memorabilia” and baseball cards are probably the first thing that would come to mind. Since its debut in 1868, baseball cards have evolved from simple advertising tools, to highly sought after collectibles. Fast forward to the 21st century, with the emergence of blockchain technology, these same principles form the very bedrock of sports NFT collectibles.
In 2020, the National Basketball Association (NBA) partnered with Dapper Labs to launch one of the most successful digital collection ventures to date — NBA Top Shot. The blockchain-based platform allows basketball fans to own, sell and trade Moment NFTs — digital collectibles of NBA plays in the form of video highlights. As a step up from traditional sports memorabilia, holders of these NFTs get to be part of a global community of more than one million registered users. Plus, they can participate in challenges to earn new Moments NFTs, VIP access to meet-and-greet events, NBA games and more.
In a similar vein, Oracle Red Bull Racing launched the Full Charge: Factory Pass NFT in August, 2022. Auctioned exclusively on Bybit’s NFT Marketplace, the 1-of-1 NFT grants its holder never before seen access to the Milton Keynes headquarters, complete with a factory tour, and an immersive experience in the top-secret Operations Room during the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix. By providing once-in-a-lifetime experiences, sports NFTs with unique utility last forever on the blockchain, but also live eternally in fans’ memories. Click here to find out more about the Full Charge: Factory Pass NFT auction.
It’s only been four years since crypto entered the sports industry but the synergy of both players continues to grow exponentially. Be it integrated payment systems or enriching fan engagements, we’re certain that crypto can unlock many more opportunities, elevating the sports scene to a whole new ball game.
Source: Bybit Blog