Non-fungible tokens, also known as NFTs, have become a powerful monetization product for the sports world. Athletes can now bank on their fandom a little more and create a deeper connection with them. This process starts a perfect marriage between athletes earning money and fans getting something valuable.

Then again, NFT is still a very blurry subject, even for most tech-savvy individuals. Athletes still don’t know the power of these digital tokens in the world of sports. Here’s how athletes can benefit from non-fungible tokens in sports.

What Are Sports NFTs?

Before we try to talk about how athletes can benefit from non-fungible tokens, we need to first understand how NFTs work. The term non-fungible refers to the unique nature of the digital token, which tells NFTs are one-of-a-kind types of crypto code, usually in the form of art.

Think of a trading card or a baseball card. The value of a trading card comes from its rarity and value, which NFT banks on. There can only be one owner of a specific token, so it is a tradeable product. NFT games are a good example of an environment that encourages the creation of such tokens.

It’s important to note that not all NFTs are made equal. For an NFT to be tradeable, it needs to have two things: rarity and value. By their nature, these tokens are rare and one-of-a-kind, like Babe Ruth baseball cards or your Black Lotus card from Magic The Gathering.

Value is harder to create, mostly because value comes from how a customer or buyer perceives something. Meme NFTs, for example, sold for thousands because they represented internet culture and hence, had perceived value. Such perception is hard to replicate, apart from several use cases and niches.

For example, Sandbox, an open NFT Metaverse platform, is a great way to create value for tokens. Gamifying tokens allow for better value as players can do actions that will enable token trading. The same goes for sports.

How Athletes Benefit From NFT?

The marriage between sports and NFT is perfect because the value proposition of athletes comes from three aspects of their celebrity status. These are:

  • Name
  • Image
  • Likeness

With athletes having their name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights on their hands, they can heavily profit from NFTs. Non-fungible tokens rely on getting a single snippet of an athlete and keeping that exclusively for the specific token. There are so many ways to create value for athletes and for them to benefit from NFTs.

Here are several ways that athletes can benefit from them.

1. NFTs Helps With Personal Branding

Sports NFTs help athletes promote their name and their personal brand. NFTs sold usually have ways to interact with their fans, which means they give the athlete a way to connect those who are loyal to the brand. Sports NFTs improve fan engagement, letting them keep a piece of the athlete they care for.

Sports fans are among the most loyal crowds in all of fandom. Most fans of athletes stay fans for their entire lives and even pass on the love to their children. They also tend to be the biggest collectors of merchandise, from memorabilia to trading cards. 

Non-fungible tokens make sense for athletes who want to capitalize on their brands. If you’re looking to make the most out of your likeness, NFT is a great way to do so.

2. Sports NFT Provide Variety

Another benefit of NFTs is that they are not limited to images or single pieces of art. They are not simple images but rather unique tokens that may contain any type of digital media. This allows athletes to have a more diverse offering for their fans and improve fan interactions.

Several types of sports NFTs that you can tokenize include:

  • Highlight clips
  • Video messages
  • Memorabilia, as an image
  • Art
  • Trading cards
  • Special access

As tokenization adds rarity to them and the athlete creates value for each token, athletes will ultimately find it as a fantastic way to create a consistent monetization procedure. Fans can also benefit from these types of transactions, considering that they can monetize the tokens and sell them for better value.

3. Athletes Can Get Good Monetization From NFTs

One important way that athletes can benefit from a sport NFT comes from the full value of the tokens. In many situations, there is always someone profiting off the athlete’s NIL and intellectual property. This can be the league they are in, the owners of the team, or their agents. Athletes go through hoops to monetize their merchandise.

Sports NFTs are much different, as the mode of exchange is mostly cryptocurrency. Depending on their contracts, many athletes have the permission to dabble into cryptocurrency transactions with little intervention from other parties. Some can even use their names, images, and likenesses without giving away a cut of the profits.

These opportunities allow athletes to get the best monetization from their digital merchandise. In addition, as there is a growing movement to make non-fungible tokens easier to access, athletes won’t need to spend too much money on production resources.

4. The NFT Market Is Still Growing

Even if an athlete does not want or can create their tokens, they can benefit from NFTs. More and more organizations and partnerships use such tokens to create several types of monetization options. All the athlete needs are to find such partnerships or wait for them to connect with them.

A good example of such partnerships is the NBA, which sells highlights through the Top Shot brand. A LeBron James Top Shot, for example, sold for almost $400,000 at one point this year. NBA players also enjoy a consistent value from their NFTs, with a simple Damian Lillard dunk selling for $75,000.

While not every athlete should expect such amounts, NFT partnerships can help them get some cash flowing. Early adopters are mostly superfans, and once the technology is more well-known, more fans will likely join.

The Bottom Line

Non-fungible tokens or NFTs are an ever-growing technology that is creating ways across the sports industry. Sports and NFTs are perfect together, as athletes can fulfill the value that NFT needs to change hands. At the same time, athletes can benefit the most from these digital memorabilia.

Sports NFTs are here to stay, so whether you’re an athlete or a fan, it’s high time that you adopt the tech. For fans, this is a great way to support their favorite athletes. For athletes, this will give you some of the best benefits you won’t find with any other digital collectible.

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