Why sports memorabilia going digital will have a significant impact on the collectibles industry


It’s no secret that the world is going digital. From how we consume media to how we conduct our business, more and more aspects of our lives are moving online. And the collectibles industry is no exception. A new generation of digital native buyers is maturing, and they are disrupting the traditional collectibles market, with desires for more intuitive and user-friendly asset exchanges.

This generational shift is driven by the rise of NFTs (non-fungible tokens), which are digital assets stored on the blockchain, a decentralized ledger that allows tamper-proof asset ownership and transfer.

Generation Z will lead the way

NFTs are gaining popularity among the tech-savvy younger generations. Gen Z and Millennials are much more comfortable with digital assets than their older counterparts. As these generations mature financially, they are looking for new ways to invest and expand their horizons when it comes to the assets they hold. They are looking for innovative products that provide them with various kinds of utilities and benefits.

The sports collectibles market is a perfect example of an investment sector that is growing in value and fits the ideal use case for NFTs. The market was recently estimated at $5.4 billion and is expected to grow at a rate of 9.7% CAGR between 2022 and 2031. NFTs are already causing a stir in the sports world, with major sales like Michael Jordan and Lou Gehrig’s asset-backed NFTs selling out in a sports NFT market upon launch. Almost every month, NFT and cryptocurrency companies sponsor sports teams to educate fans about what the industry has to offer.

Instead of browsing physical auction houses or attending sports card conventions, young buyers are turning to digital marketplaces to find the latest sports NFTs. From trading cards living on the blockchain to NFTs backed by physical assets, the market has started to offer many ways for individuals to participate in the trend. After all, Generation Z is passing the majority of their waking hours onlineit is therefore not surprising that they are comfortable buying assets that exist in digital form.

Not only are digital natives, Generation Z are web3 natives – they were born into a world with the internet, social media and mobile devices. They are used to interacting with digital content and have grown up with a DIY ethic. They are naturally drawn to the world of NFTs, where they can create, own and trade their favorite digital assets at their fingertips.

All of this sheds light on the impact of PwC statement:

“It wouldn’t surprise us if, over the next five years, digital asset sales become one of the most important sources of revenue for many teams and leagues.”

Greater expressiveness

As pointed out in a Forbes Article, Gen Z has “a strong propensity to be more expressive,” a trait that has been amplified by the rise of social media. For Gen Z, self-expression is key and they are always looking for new platforms to share their creativity. They also want to be closer to their interests and hobbies, and Web3 allows them to participate in a host of community-focused activities.

Unlike the traditional world of collectibles, NFTs can be used to share access to unique experiences like virtual concerts, art exhibits, and sporting events. Each asset is unique and has the potential to create much richer and more expressive experiences, and even provide benefits depending on the level of asset the individual possesses.

The Problem With Today’s Collectibles Market

Although the collectibles market has been around for centuries, the reality is that many problems remain. Using blockchain technology, these challenges can be effectively addressed, allowing collectors to participate in their hobby with new benefits.

The biggest issues are high fees and minimum buy-ins. Right now, sports memorabilia tends to be quite expensive even for relatively affluent buyers, making it difficult for casual buyers to get involved in the market.

Minimum redemption requirements can be prohibitively expensive for all but the wealthiest investors. This puts many of these assets beyond the reach of most people, limiting their potential as a means of self-expression and inclusion in the sporting community of their choice.

Additional challenges such as finding authentic collectibles, hoarding assets, and a low possibility of discovery have younger generations turning to different avenues to support their favorite players and teams.

Ways to Solve Fundamental Industry Problems with Blockchain Technology

Right now, companies using blockchain technology are on a mission to solve some of the biggest problems facing the traditional sports memorabilia industry today.. The landscape is plagued by counterfeits, counterfeits and fraud. In fact, it is believed that counterfeit memories alone constitute a $100 million industry one year.

Due to the role that NFTs and blockchain technology can play in verifying assets and contracts, authentication need not be an issue. Once an asset is authenticated according to standard industry practices, the NFT it is associated with acts as the certificate of ownership. This means that the holder has full rights to the asset which is stored in a physical vault (and represented digitally) or on the blockchain.

Scanning a physical asset

While many assets are digital only in nature, digitizing a physical aspect is new business and is particularly relevant to the sports collectibles industry. This requires an imaging process that dynamically maps and captures characteristics of the asset (eg, a Lou Gehrig ball or a Michael Jordan jersey).

Holders have access to the collectible in a new light. Where before they relied on physical sensation, now they are able to see it in high definition, share it with their friends and community, and maybe even carry it into the metaverse. These are actions we cannot take with purely physical assets.

Forward-looking innovation

These capabilities are having an immense impact on the sports collectibles industry as it forces it to say “goodbye” to old ways of operating. Businesses need to align with the values ​​of new generations who demand utility, benefits, and more ways to access individualized communities.

Sports memorabilia going digital will change collectibles for the future and strengthen the fan-athlete connection. Collectors will gain more and more value by owning assets.

Through an innovative reward structure, sports fans will be able to unlock new experiences like tickets to games or group chats with professional athletes. NFTs and digital assets have already overturned several billion-dollar industries, and sports memorabilia is next.

Guest post by Brett Calapp of RareMint

Brett Calapp is a 17-year-old online real-money and social gaming entrepreneur, executive, board member, and advisor specializing in building iGaming businesses in regulatory frameworks around the world. Brett is also the sole director of Arizona’s largest tribal online sports betting site and sits on the board of a NASDAQ sports and gaming acquisition company: BPAC. He is also currently advising on M&A iGaming transactions for a private equity firm and the fighting game simulator NFT Taunt: Battleworld. Founder of ClubWPT for World Poker Tour, one of the largest legal poker networks in the United States, Brett has created five iGaming platforms and independently produced 35 original slot games and numerous casino games. He was the first person authorized by Facebook to organize poker tournaments for prizes on Facebook Canvas. He began his career in research and linguistics and holds several gaming licenses as well as an MBA in finance from Pepperdine.

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