When he talks to golf equipment manufacturers in Europe who want to introduce NFTs, their biggest concern is money. “The main concern is, ‘Oh, we want to make millions of pounds overnight,'” Mangnall says. “The market is misinformed and has a misconception of what an NFT is, which is a serious problem for the industry. It can be membership, prizes or even something as simple as a ticket. It’s not about these substantial profits.
The world is upside down. Buying an expensive digital asset because it’s an NFT is like rushing to buy your team’s new package because you can pay with Visa or because it’s delivered by DHL. NFTs and the blockchain are infrastructures, not investments. “I think a big misconception is to think of NFTs as a space, a market or a category, which is not the case. It is just a technology,” Julia says. “When a technology booms like this, it attracts people who are in it for the wrong reasons and do not think long-term. As a result, the fans suffer.
It’s the benefits that matter, and tragically, in the rush to invest, people have overlooked that. “Football clubs do not realise how much work goes into it,” Mangnall says. “At the end of the day, you are selling a product to your fans. Treat your fans as such. They should not be treated like customers.
Early blockchain-based sports projects like Sorare struggled mightily to bundle the complexities of the cryptocurrency world. Without having to worry about secure wallets or fuel costs, you can pay with a credit card. Some of the newer projects make minimal effort to do so; it almost seems like the only reason for their existence is to attract the sizable group of soccer fans into the cryptocurrency space, maintain liquidity, and prevent the bottom from falling out.
Given the complexity of the cryptocurrency market, the rapidly fluctuating value of Ethereum trades, and the risk of being scammed by hackers or those trying to sell you NFT, you’ve to consider whether it’s worth the effort. The answers you get when you ask the founders of blockchain-based sports companies why the benefits they offer can’t be served simply with a members’ area on a website that you access with an email address and password.
Head of football at dapper labs, Jorge Urrutia del Pozo, says, “Blockchain enables true ownership in a way that Web2 platforms can not.” There are agreements to launch digital collectibles with Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga and Spain’s La Liga, as well as highly lucrative deals with the NBA. “It allows fans to have experiences that were previously impossible in other places, and to track and verify the authenticity and rarity of their digital artefacts.
Maybe we will get there. There is a scenario where blockchain enables a higher level of “fan engagement” – where fans, thankfully, trade digital items that unlock real-world experiences that bring them closer to their teams.” There was a period of speculation. Michael Bouhanna, co-head of digital art sales at Sotheby’s, who helped develop the NFT project for Barcelona and Liverpool FC, believes it’s more natural and healthy now.
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