What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear cryptocurrency and sports in one sentence? Let us guess it’s a cybersport or trading competition, or something else connecting the blockchain industry with the world’s sports. If it really does, you’ll wonder how many use cases the crypto industry has in different kinds of sports and even fans’ activity. Enjoy reading!
Why blockchain is beneficial for the sports industry?
To answer this question, we need to understand what is blockchain technology. Basically, blockchain is an online network for storing and transferring files and digital cash. Its main peculiarity is its open-source, decentralized and anonymous nature. All the information stored on the blockchain is protected with highly secured cryptographic algorithms. In simple words, it is like a bank without a single authority — transactions are controlled by users and everyone could connect the network to validate them and check the history.
So what benefits can blockchain offer to the sports industry?
The simplest example is secure and fast reward payments. Nowadays, many professional athletes are receiving their salaries in Bitcoins. No wonder if we will soon see a lot of them requesting payments in other tokens.
How about sponsorship? Many crypto platforms are interested in the increased awareness of their services among a wide audience — the potential customers and investors.
Also, sports fans can be now involved deeper in the life of their favorite players and teams through the fan engagement tokens. By having some of them, you can vote on club issues, for instance, kit design, site names, or charity selection. More you’ll find in the next sections.
The headlines: football and NFTs
We would like to start from this topic because non-fungible tokens (NFT) are gaining extreme popularity. In fact, they are cryptocurrencies that represent some real-life items. Thus, NFT supports the global adoption of blockchain and digital funds. For instance, art collectors can now obtain a token representing a masterpiece (painting, music composition, video). To do so, they’ll need to get familiar with cryptocurrencies and the nature of blockchain transactions.
On the other hand, crypto enthusiasts can enrich their portfolios with some real-life items. Or contribute to world sports, why not?
Here is the real and probably most famous example of NFT tokens in sports. Not so while ago, the Sorare, a decentralized application (dApp) and a fantasy football game issued the unique card of Cristiano Ronaldo. Results were incredible, the card was sold for 150 ETH, or about $289,900 according to the market rate of that time. And if we look deeper into the consequences:
- Many football fans started to learn blockchain and NFT after reading the news about Ronaldo’s card
- Even if they didn’t buy a card for thousands of dollars, they could find something equally interesting, but affordable
- The buzz around the Sorare reached the crypto forums too, which means promotion of the sports clubs to the wider community
We’ve already mentioned that some sportsmen are already receiving their salary and reward payments on Bitcoins and most of them are likely to do the same in the nearest future. Here are the supporting facts:
Russell Okung, an American footballer, followed a two-year legal battle to receive part of his salary in Bitcoin (BTC). To be clear, the team, Californian Panthers doesn’t pay Okung directly in crypto. Instead, they use a special application, Strike, to divert a part of the footballer’s salary in dollars. Strike will then presumably send BTC to Okung and take their processing fee.
The Sacramento Kings are going to become the first NBA franchise to offer BTC payments to all players and staff. In 2021, six NBA owners formed a Blockchain Advisory Subcommittee to advise the league on how to take advantage of digital assets and crypto payments.
Oakland Athletes is likely to include the issue of cryptocurrency salaries in the next round of Major League Baseball collective bargaining. The team president, Dave Kaval, shared that players have recently expressed interest in receiving payments in cryptocurrency.
Tickets for Bitcoins
Even if you haven’t visited the football matches and haven’t watched it with your friends on TV, bet you definitely saw one or two news about the FIFA World Cup or UEFA Champions League. By the way, many Europeans visit football stadiums just for fun, even if they have no idea who’s playing today. That’s just because of the extreme popularity of this kind of sport — almost everyone doesn’t hesitate to show up as a fan.
In 2018, during the FIFA World Cup in Russia, many tickets were sold for Bitcoins directly or with Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC) through Epayments. This was not just a modern trend, to accept cryptocurrencies as a payment, but rather an issue of visitors’ demand and convenience. To join the atmosphere of the event, many foreigners had to buy tickets using their credit cards or via international bank transfers. When you use traditional methods for international funds transferring, you should be ready for high processing fees and possible delays. But not with cryptocurrencies. People prefer to pay in Bitcoins because:
- Funds arrive at the destination wallet in minutes. Rarely, it can take some hours because of the network overload, but not days as it can happen when you transfer funds from one bank account to another.
- The transactions fees are the same regardless of the distance and amount. For example, the CEX.IO online crypto exchanger takes Ƀ 0.0005 for withdrawal and it doesn’t matter if you send 0,1 BTC or 10 BTC.
- The network is highly secured and doesn’t require tons of paperwork to open a wallet and initiate a transaction. To open an account on the crypto platform, you just need an email address and a debit or credit card to buy some crypto with. You can do it even as you go with the BTC exchange mobile app — no need to devote your precious free time to visiting bank establishments.
Now waiting for Qatar to implement blockchain technologies in different infrastructures before FIFA WC 2022 and hope for other sports industries to join the club of crypto enthusiasts.