Blogger’s Park: Sports NFT: A New Collectible Game

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Sreeram Ananthasayanam

Reminiscing about sporting achievements and celebrating the on-screen crescendos of sports stars is an integral part of India’s entertainment culture. From Kapil Dev’s sixes to Neeraj Chopra’s throws, thousands of sporting events are etched in our memories.

Add to that the iconic lines of “Mere paas maa hai” or “Naan oru thadava sonna, nooru thadava sonna maathiri”, there are countless on-screen moments that make us smile.

The propensity to integrate on-field/on-screen experiences into everyday life through the possession of memorabilia in the form of autographs or signed artifacts has always been high. It was inevitable that this strong personal association with sports and entertainment would find its way into digital media. With the emergence of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and changing digital trends in sports and entertainment, a deeper association between fans and their icons or brands was inevitable.

New kid on the block

NFTs enable ownership of a digital asset, including but not limited to video/audio/photography and enable the transfer of ownership digitally. Fans can not only experience the digital version of their favorite sporting event, but also own and trade them digitally. Since most sports/entertainment NFTs do not inherently confer ownership/rights, and, since even ownership of digital assets does not guarantee exclusivity in their use, it is not uncommon to regard as illogical. However, NFT owners say it makes as much sense as owning a bat/jacket signed by a beloved icon or owning printed cards of sports stars. NFTs allow the possession of digital versions of these artefacts which have found many willing takers.

The Gen-Z population that has grown in the post-broadband era sees huge applications for NFTs in their digital worlds. With the right offers and incentives, it is not unthinkable to make the space attractive for other generations as well, to whom NFTs can offer the first digital version of their precious memories.

The growth potential of NFT

Icons of India have understood the significance, and many are on board. Amitabh Bachchan launched his NFT collection last year. Rajnikanth and Kamal Hassan also announced their NFT plans. Sunil Gavaskar, Yuvraj Singh, and Rishabh Pant have jumped into the NFT space.

NFTs allow brands to redirect their branding and marketing strategies through athletes to promote brand awareness and engagement. NFTs in games promote fungibility across all gaming platforms – a digital avatar can carry the NFT of a sports jersey across multiple gaming platforms. adventure turns out to be a blessing, as NFTs are considered an integral part of the immersive experience of the metaverse.

NFTs have the potential to disrupt several conventional segments of the sports and entertainment industry. While early trends are promising, the sentiment could be summed up as potential NFT from a line in a Bollywood movie that says, “Picture abhi baaki hai, mere dost.”

The author is partner, Deloitte India

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