What do Robin van Persie, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars and Glenn Helder have in common? They have all played at the London football club Arsenal FC, or The Arsenal as the fans call their club.
Let Arsenal FC now also just happen to be the very first football club to dive into the world of crypto. To be precise, in January 2018 Arsenal signed a sponsorship deal with the US CashBet. This is a mobile platform that sells software to help betting companies accept cryptocurrency bets.
With this deal, Arsenal promoted the ICO of the CashBet coin in their Emirates stadium with 60,000 seats. This was the first time that a major global sports team officially partnered with a cryptocurrency firm.
After that, the gate was not immediately off the dam, but since then a few things have changed in the sports world when we think of blockchain and crypto in conjunction with the sports world. The blockchain is not standing still and is starting to spread its wings in the sports world. This is not surprising when you consider that the global sports industry is worth 1.3 trillion USD. Then a few drops from this jar are still more than worth it!
We will discuss in detail how blockchain and crypto affect the sports industry in this blog. We are going to look at different use cases, which ones are already in use and which plans there are.
The international sports industry is plagued with issues that ultimately tarnish the reputation and integrity of the sport as a whole. It is the main reason why players in various sports are required to take a doping test before they can participate. There are now doping tests throughout the year and outside of the competition. However, the clubs and organizations can sometimes act in bad faith and attempts are sometimes made to manipulate or change the actual data. Think of the scandal surrounding the Russian team during the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2016 or a cyclist in the 1960s who turned out to be pregnant after a doping test because the urine he gave was found to be from his wife.
However, the use of blockchain technology is effective in combating this particular problem. All data is stored on the blockchain and you cannot manipulate it. It makes storing the data on blockchain considerably safer from outside influences.
With the blockchain, it is also highly unlikely that data from athletes will end up on the street.
Athletes and / or clubs control who can access their personal information and rely on their information being secured in a secure and safe system. In addition, each person involved could oversee the entire supply chain network of the doping sample, fostering trust and adding a layer of transparency to a process now shrouded in mystery.
Paying salaries in crypto
It is not at all a bad idea to pay out players ‘or athletes’ salaries and / or bonuses in crypto coins. In late 2020, NFL star Russell Okung became the first American footballer to receive a portion of his salary in Bitcoin. This was preceded by a two-year legal battle before Okung was finally able to receive half of his $ 13 million salary in Bitcoin.
As Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies become more widely accepted as a form of payment, we will likely see other athletes requesting a partial or full salary in crypto coins as well.
Replace paper contracts with smart contracts
Now that we are on the theme of salaries, paper contracts can also easily be replaced by smart contracts. It ensures that the player gets his / her salary and premiums paid on time.
Negotiating, vetting, amending and signing contracts is now an extremely inefficient process, especially when working with clubs on different continents. Signing contracts is time consuming and even in our digital age still requires paper, printers, faxes, tracking changes, phone calls and emails betweenimportant parties.
Blockchain can help streamline these redundant processes by acting as a trusted referee in a newly digitized contractual system. The people involved in this network, agents, athletes, teams and leagues, can digitally view, modify, register and sign the terms of the contract. In this way, every adjustment is transparent, fully controlled and fixed in a shared database.
Generating income by athletes
Currently, athletes cannot take full advantage of their true brand equity and powerful middlemen often choose to fill their own wallets at the expense of the wider athlete base, think IOC or FIFA.
However, blockchain technology offers new opportunities to empower athletes by enabling them to connect directly with fans and monetize their personal brand / data without intermediaries.
In sports, the most money is at the top and is not distributed equally or fairly. Think of all the Olympic medalists struggling to raise enough funding in their day to day lives. Smaller countries that have problems ensuring the competitiveness of their athletes also play a part.
Blockchain-based ideas provide the opportunity for new investment solutions that do not depend on one or a few major investors. New, small investors can enter the market and own a small share of athletes or clubs, all managed securely on the blockchain.
Imagine that at the start of someone’s career you can immediately invest in a young athlete of whom you are strongly convinced. This was hardly possible before, and trading those stocks could become an important new market.
Roman sportsmen statue with Bitcoin as a discus
Admission tickets to sporting events
Illegal ticket resale is a major problem facing sports organizations. By replacing the tickets with NFTs you solve many of these entrance tickets problems. All tickets are now transparent and sold directly to fans, without intermediaries. If the ticket owner is unable to attend the game for whatever reason, it is easy to sell the ticket with pre-defined rules to follow.
With the blockchain you can set up a kind of smart ticket platform.
This approach allows fans to verify that their tickets are genuine. Smart ticket platforms can also set restrictions where buyers can only buy a certain number of tickets at a time. This can reduce or even eliminate the influence of bots and scammers buying large amounts of tickets for resale.
One of the big uses of blockchain in eSports (competitive gaming) and the traditional sports industry is verifiable authentication of memorabilia and collectibles.
Organizations and clubs can safely sell merchandise directly to their fans without intermediaries. This also creates a new way for fans to show their support and dedication to a team.
You can also use this technology to eradicate potentially counterfeit sports equipment and goods. Using blockchain, any brand collectible or memorabilia can be given a unique digital identity. Buyers and fans can then check the authenticity of an item or garment by scanning a QR code. In addition, this can also verify the maximum available supply and display a chain of previous ownership.
The popular Chiliz project allows fans to purchase “Fan Tokens” from their favorite football teams. If you buy these Fan Tokens, you can also get voting rights to make decisions about, among other things, kit designs and names of training fields. This is a revolutionary way for fans to have a say in how their favorite team works.
Fan tokens on the Socios. com website
In addition, major public blockchains such as Ethereum may see teams and clubs selling shares presented as tokens in the future. This provides a new way to raise funds that allow fans to contribute directly to clubs or sports organizations by purchasing tokenized stock. This allows holders of the club’s tokens to gain exclusive rights or access as a reward for helping the club.
Involvement of fans
Combining the blockchain use cases for eSports, traditional sports, players and organizations, the emphasis is on fan engagement. Blockchain technology takes interaction with fans to the next level. Fans can communicate with multiple platforms, clubs and protocols while maintaining a single verified “fan” IDentity of the user. Italy Crypto website is popular.
Football clubs affiliated with Socios.com
Rewards and payouts for fan prizes are distributed almost instantly, as smart contracts can work with real-time achievements and trades. The introduction of a blockchain-based identity makes it easier for teams and sponsors to communicate and network with fans. The technology increases the level of engagement and loyalty, bringing fans closer to players and teams than ever before.
Removing many outside middlemen allows sports organizations and teams to get closer to their fans. Blockchain-based identities open up a whole new pattern of interaction between players and fans. “Superfans” could receive a verified profile or a non-fungible token (NFT) representing their fan status. In addition, the public data provided by the fan on a blockchain can be used by sports organizations. This would allow them to provide tailored and personalized experiences to continue to drive fan engagement.
Betting on results
Betting on scores or results is a big part of the sports industry. There are already several websites where you can bet that run on the blockchain. In 2020, USD 203 billion was spent on sports betting. This is a huge market and blockchain can streamline costs and efficiency due to the nature of the technology. Crypto UK is popular.
Blockchain technology in the sports industry has created a market for real-time sports betting. This is one of the exciting use cases of blockchain in eSports. Because smart contracts are used, winnings can be paid out and on your wallet within seconds.
The smart contracts eliminate the need for middlemen and users can also save on the traditional brokerage costs and only have to pay the gas costs.
Gaming and eSports
Gaming and eSports have emerged as a fast-growing area of consumer interest, especially among Millennials and Gen Z users. By 2021, eSports will see an annual growth of approximately 14%, with the number of casual viewers and eSports enthusiasts rising to 557 million.
Since eSports spans multiple stakeholders from game developers to players, sponsors, advertisers, team managers and media, blockchain can provide a platform or ecosystem to bring them all together. Its decentralized nature allows stakeholders from this industry to connect in a peer-to-peer manner, removing complexity and middlemen. In turn, this can lead to easy distribution of prize money, player transfers, media rights and more, and all of this is made possible through programmable smart contracts.
Blockchain can also increase trust in eSports due to its transparent nature, allowing all participants to see what is happening in the network. Smart contracts between tournament organizers and developers also eliminate the risk of non-payment of game developers and any concerns about unfair prize money distribution.
Blockchain-based games can be programmed with tokenized digital assets such as NFTs. These digital assets can be traded within a game or externally in the public market. This happens, for example, in the Sandbox and Decentraland.
eSports gaming event in Moscow in 2019
We have seen several use cases that the black chain can add to the sports industry. The doping problem can be tackled better, among other things, due to the transparent nature of the blockchain and it is impossible or extremely difficult to tamper with the results.
The fans can become much more involved with their clubs and sports heroes and the clubs can also get in touch with the fan base better.
As with many blockchain opportunities, we are at the beginning of a series of options, we don’t know where this could take us all. Via the blockchain there is better control of merchandise, the black market problem for tickets can be solved and player contracts can be converted into smart contracts.
It is an exciting time and we are curious about which applications are still to come, things that we have not even thought of.