What are NFTs? It’s a question that you may have heard being tossed around lately, especially in the world of sports.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are becoming an increasingly popular way for young athletes to earn rewards and recognition for their achievements, collect, monetize, and a host of other benefits. But that’s not all. In this blog post, we’ll cover what NFTs are and how they’re changing the landscape of sports, including youth sports.
What are NFTs?
NFTs are digital assets that are stored on a blockchain, which is a digital ledger. This means that NFTs are unique and cannot be replicated. Since they are unique or one-of-a-kind, they can often be valuable, similar to rare sports trading cards, art, memorabilia, or anything collectors may collect.
Why are NFTs so Popular?
Money is the easiest answer. Many NFTs have already reached multi-million dollar values and could potentially go a lot higher over time. In fact, the most expensive NFT in history is actually a series of NFTs, called “The Merge” which sold for an eye-watering $91.8 million price tag in December of 2021.
Another crazy-expensive NFT sold was from a collection called “CryptoPunks”, titled “CryptoPunk #5822” which sold for $23.7 million on February 12, 2022.
But money isn’t the only reason. They also continue to gain popularity in other areas as well, including licensing and certifications to real estate and sports.
NFTs in Sports
NFTs are already playing a pivotal role in sports. One new use case for NFTs in sports is the integration into live sports games as virtual access tokens or tickets. For instance, fans that are willing to pay for NFT tickets could unlock VIP videos from the stadium’s player cameras or give them special club perks, from getting players’ autographs and limited-edition jerseys to exclusive discounts on game tickets. Fans could also potentially interact with different sports players and fellow supporters directly in the metaverse or use NFTs to sponsor their favorite players.
Another popular approach to NFTs in the sports industry includes athletes issuing their own NFT collections to engage their fan base. Similar to trading cards, athletes’ NFTs establish a connection between the player and their fans. Athletes can also maintain their intellectual property rights by issuing NFTs themselves. As NFT creators, they can receive royalty fees from the resales of their NFTs, something not possible for college athletes until recently with the implementation of the NCAA’s new NIL rules for college sports.
NFTs in Youth Sports
Yes, you read that right! NFTs are also entering the youth sports realm. One feel-good example that we came across was with BaseballGenerations, a youth baseball instruction and recruiting camp co-founded by New York Mets first baseman Dom Smith. They’re launching an NFT marketplace where all proceeds will go towards hosting training camps and showcases in under-resourced neighborhoods. This is just one example of how NFTs can benefit youth sports, but there are a few other approaches that could benefit or may be deemed controversial by some.
Take BallerTV, for example. They recently announced a new plan to allow high school athletes to make money off their names, images, and likeness through NFTs. They now sell NFTs that depict video highlights and images from some of the most elite high school basketball players in the country. The hopes are that these NFTs will encourage fans and collectors to invest in the first moments of what could very well be storied NBA careers. Several other companies offer similar NFT marketplaces for high school athletes, and that list will continue to grow in the coming years.
The Future of NFTs in Youth Sports?
One company that’s taking a whole new approach to NFTs in youth sports is Stack Sports. They’ve partnered with the NEAR blockchain and plan to launch StackNFT in late September 2022, the first-ever NFT platform for youth athletes of all ages and talent levels.
The difference you ask is that there’s no marketplace where only the top 1% of elite high school athletes can monetize their names, images, and likeness. There’s actually no marketplace at all.
Unlike most NFT offerings in the sports world, StackNFT is focused on connecting parents, athletes, and fans of all ages and backgrounds. No advanced knowledge of the minting or wallet creation process and no costly minting fees. Just good old fun!
Upload an image of yourself or your athlete, add a built-in background and/or custom design, and click mint.
They’re also offering a special promotion upon launch where all athletes get their first custom-minted NFT for free. Visit www.stacknft.com to subscribe to their newsletter for more information.