With the development of information technology, computers, the Internet, cellular technology, the digitalization of images and the escalating advent of social networks, the relationship of human beings with the natural environment and their surroundings has changed; The models and scope of interpersonal communication changed, and the term and concept of globalization became more precise in the sense of facts, logic and even subjectivity, a phenomenon that today is not only expressed in the sphere of interdependent relations between countries, markets and other dynamic processes such as the economy, the circulation of capital, political culture and interpersonal ties.
In a remarkable way, these technologies have become part of our lives, impacting approaches to teaching and learning models, social relations, communication, training, promotion and dissemination of art and culture; they have also changed our perspective on information as a resource for decision making; the value of instantaneousness, the number of alternatives and communicational proposals have increased.
The rise of technology in sports has been sensational. There is no doubt that it has had an influence on the way in which different disciplines are carried out; wearable devices; technological clothing, textile electronics, advanced materials for their elaboration, intertwined circuits, sensors; are in the clothing designed to control body data; socks that detect the areas of greatest pressure on the feet during the race; intelligent footwear capable of fitting the foot by automatically tightening the laces, insoles with sensors that allow, from the mobile or the computer, specific monitoring; T-shirts that accelerate muscle recovery; are good examples of this reality that transcends body monitoring and is attached to decision making on suitable materials, microfibers, resistant rubbers; equipment engineering, tools; control of effort, stress; protection against injuries, perfection of treatments to facilitate the recovery of athletes, improve performance, make it easier for the athlete to excel in his discipline, as well as ensure his safety during training or in competitions.
No less important is the role of these technologies in the relationship between clubs, athletes and their audiences. The digital strategies of this moment make use of websites or applications aimed at sharing content in real time, effectively and quickly. It is unthinkable to assume the existence and prominence of the most valuable clubs in the world, of the most popular and effective players in soccer, baseball, basketball, without the relationship links with their audiences. Social networks are part of the structures at the service of clubs and athletes to enhance the proximity between clubs and their followers, create communities eager for daily information, open spaces in the rest of the world and promote products.
We wanted to briefly address the issue of technology and its relationship with sport, the impact of technology on physical preparation, performance, athlete safety and other issues concerning the relationship between clubs, athletes and fans, aware that the approach offered could only be tangential.
It is important to point out that the incontrovertible vigor with which, year after year, the massification of technologies, especially those of information and communication, is expanding, is not accompanied by the correction or put an end to the security flaws that characterize the use of all devices entrusted to the network of networks. The devices in common use, computers, tablets and phones and the internet that interconnects them with the rest of the world, are not protected against the malice that swarms outside; in social networks, entrenched in user errors or omissions, malicious applications and attacks, identity theft fraud, failures in privacy settings.
Technology being the practical response to obstacles that oppose the development of society or individual or collective goals, it is pertinent to say that Blockchain is the development of a disruptive solution conceived to function analogously to the technology we know. Disruption is presented, in this case, as the incorporation of higher quality standards, benefits for organizations and their audiences. Blockchain technology currently has the ability to make the fan and the sport have a relationship not only closer, but also transparent, accessible and with a much higher coverage than we have seen so far.
The Blockchain responds to the challenges of protection, secure registration, decentralization and synchrony that cannot be trusted nor can the centralized, one information exchange model guarantee. Blockchain connections serve to share files of any type between two or more, but without any of them exercising control over the other.
Thanks to the Blockchain, we can say goodbye to long lines to enter sporting events, concerns about illicit ticket sales that often turn out to be false and which generate millions of losses to users and clubs, and finally the erroneous verification of scores in matches.
Blockchain technology is here and has reached the masses through one of the most important sectors of society such as sports. Many of these blockchain use cases can be found in Europe with soccer lovers, the NFL and the NBA in the United States, changing the user experience while moving towards a more decentralized and transparent world between clubs, players and fans.
How is blockchain technology revolutionizing the sports industry?
The sports industry that works with blockchain technology does it through three digital aspects to implement its use: fan engagement, the development and creation of intelligent facilities and data analysis of athletes, the latter being of great importance for sports entities, since the domain of data analysis that can be obtained from athletes, allows it to be used to improve the performance of the athlete and have better performance. However, in the sports industry the state of blockchain that can have more applications is linked to new digital channels for communication, connecting with their viewers and developing more personalized experiences.
NFTs in sports
NFTs are irreplaceable digital assets with the quality of being unique. We can say that they have no equivalent of the same kind and quality, nor are they part of a mass production; they are -like works of art- unique and unrepeatable assets. An example of this is the uniform or the shoes worn by an athlete at a key or important moment in his or her sports career. This is how NFTs become important. Being digital goods or non-fungible assets, they have a demonstrable nature and can be verified in a Blockchain system, which offers their owners full certainty of identification of the file and certification of its authenticity.
Currently NFTs have a higher presence in the creation of digital art, but their use could go beyond that. For example, the ticket of a soccer, basketball or any other discipline, acquired as an NFT, could become, in a digital environment stimulated by a collector’s desire, an asset of respectable value. In this scenario, there would be no shortage of people willing to pay the amount traded and expect, in the future, the consequent revaluation, backed by the certification of authenticity and proof of ownership identification.
NFTs, digital assets and goods in sports
The advent of NFTs has a technological impact on our relationship with the world of sports, as it overturns the collecting of sporting goods that has been so popular in recent decades and the loyalty or engagement strategies between sports institutions and their fans.
NFTs become collector’s items and memorabilia that acquire not only sentimental value for fans, but also become monetizable assets.
Blockchain: Real-time equipment auctions
Considering that sports merchandising moves more than 5 billion dollars a year in the US alone, in 2020 the Sacramento Kings innovated in the NBA industry by launching their own live auction platform, with the aim that their fans can bid during the games for the equipment that the players wear at the time of the game, guaranteeing through blockchain the authenticity of the auctioned garments and thus winning a battle against the counterfeit clothing market.
In the field of sports, blockchain represents an opportunity to increase business, with new revenue models through merchandising or collectibles, guaranteeing authenticity and avoiding fraud.
Another example of business models in the field of sports using blockchain, and to be more specific NFT is the collection of important plays on video. Users can buy limited edition tokens that include that video, allowing them to collect highlights of history in digital format. This model generates a digital marketplace where fans can collect and share those moments, thus generating a new sports-oriented community using blockchain technology.
Benefits of blockchain technology in the sports sector
The blockchain is composed of information in a database that is almost impossible to manipulate, thus eliminating intermediaries and creating many benefits such as cost-effectiveness of information, smart stadiums and in the metaverse, athlete funding and anti-doping control.
How does the sports industry monetize information?
There are many possibilities to monetize sport by guaranteeing the security of ticketing transactions that take place over the internet, using the Blockchain. This mechanism will secure the transaction, improve transparency in competitions, personalize offers for fans and sponsors. It will also help to improve contractual issues, avoiding problems of untimely documentation. Everything would be more automated as the time and date would be determined to avoid untimely contracts.
Another advantage is that athletes can have a digital identity controlled by themselves, which includes their information from their market price to their medical data and provides sports entities and sponsors with access to valuable athlete information about their possible contract.
Tokenization in sports
One of the sports that has made the most inroads into blockchain technology and entered the world of digital currencies is soccer. Examples include Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Fútbol Club Barcelona, which have created their own tokens.
The Futbol Club Barcelona token will allow fans to participate in polls and surveys, receive prizes and club exclusives. Recently, martial arts with UFC, American soccer, baseball and motor racing with F1, started their foray into blockchain.
One of the resources that stadiums can take advantage of blockchain technology is the tokenization of seats, automating the ticket sales process and measuring fan loyalty and rewarding them with discounts.
Metaverses in sport
It is likely that in the near future, the virtual construction of the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City’s home ground, will be replicated as a goal for other clubs in Europe and the rest of the world. The fans of the English club, in a relatively short period of time, from their avatar status, will be able to watch their team’s matches, explore the stadium, watch live matches, interact with each other, meet the players and buy products that will only be available in this metaverse. A total multisensory immersion to which the loyal or eventual user, through the different virtual reality equipment and blockchain technology, could, from the safety of their entertainment room, access in real time.
Sports beyond entertainment in the metaverse
If we talk about the sports industry in the metaverse, we cannot avoid naming gamification, due to the importance of creating an entertaining digital experience that engages and generates a component that allows voluntary interactions between fans and the club.
Gamification in the metaverse, is one of the priorities that sport has today, as it will allow it to boost fan engagement, thus generating a much more loyal and close community, which by placing the metaverse as a tool in the center of the scene, gamification in sport can increase productivity and profits of sports institutions, as it would imply having an emotional connection of positive thoughts with the team or athletes, which can be transactional or non-transactional.
Funding future sports stars
One of the most significant intentions of blockchain technology in the sports field is to open up traditional sponsorship alternatives, turning fans into investors and patrons of athletes, thus contributing to their professional growth.
This offers the possibility of investing in an athlete in exchange for a percentage of their future income.
Anti-doping through the blockchain
Within the sports world, blockchain is a great ally in the fight against doping. Currently this technology is useful to prevent fraud in the analysis and in the constant monitoring of anti-doping that governs the life of the athlete during the time of competitions, training or out of season, guaranteeing through certificates, that the tests done are reliable, automated and their results truthful.
The implementation of blockchain means a technological impact on our relationship with the world of sports, as it brings added value to the sector, helping it to promote and increase its revenues.
If you have any questions about this or any other topic and would like to receive more information, we invite you to subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here and you can also visit our blog at vottun.com and learn about all our services.