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NFT and blockchain ticketing is perfectly poised to improve sports for both fans and event organisers. This is how we're approaching it.
Many uses for Web3 technology are being explored and discovered daily. Decentralisation is being touted as revolutionary for several industries. It has already begun to make a significant impact in many of them.
The entertainment industry is already using NFT technology powered by blockchain to change how fans interact with content, performances and shows. However, it is live events that might stand to be revolutionised in many different ways through the introduction of NFT ticketing.
Blockchain ticketing is perfect for sports, concerts, conferences, and live shows. Issuing tickets as NFTs will end fraud, give more control over the secondary market and fundamentally change how we think about selling tickets to live events.
In addition to the greater control provided for both primary and secondary sales of tickets, blockchain ticketing is a great way to enhance the live event experience for fans through airdrops.
These are just some reasons why NFT ticketing for sports can change how these live events feel for fans and organisations alike.
Blockchain ticketing refers to using decentralised networks to issue tickets. Blockchains make it possible to prove digital assets' ownership and authenticity, which benefits digital event tickets.
Current Web2 ticketing solutions are hampered in their ability to prevent scalping, where prices soar on secondary markets. Traditional ticketing platforms using centralised servers also struggle with fraud prevention, leading to ugly scenes like those famously witnessed at the Champions League final in Paris this year.
The popularity of sporting events especially means that scalping is rife, as is fraud. Blockchain ticketing is perfect for sports, as it helps combat both.
However, it should be noted that UEFA, organisers of the Champions League, claim to have used blockchain-based ticketing since 2020, which had little effect on ticket fraud for the final in 2022. It's important to understand that there was a big failure in their implementation of the technology though.
UEFA issued digital tickets and stored customer data on a blockchain. While this is a more secure method for customer data storage than Web2 solutions, it is not full NFT ticketing. The 2022 final demonstrates a loophole in the blockchain-based system. UEFA blamed Liverpool FC (one of the teams in the final) for not having the capability to issue digital blockchain-based tickets to their supporters, some of whom had requested physical paper tickets. In switching to paper tickets, much of the security offered by blockchain was reduced, leading to ticket fraud allegations and the crowd trouble that delayed the kick-off.
Had UEFA implemented a proper blockchain-based ticketing system using NFTs as tickets, we wouldn’t have seen the ugly scenes that unfortunately unfolded.
NFT ticketing, by contrast, issues tickets as an NFT asset hosted on a blockchain. Customers are each identifiable through a unique wallet number, and the NFT ticket is stored in their wallet.
With NFT ticketing, it is not possible to issue physical paper tickets. Still, using NFT technology fully negates the risk of fraud and drastically reduces the impact of scalping. In fact, so strong is the case for NFT ticketing in sports that the 2024 Paris Olympics has been recommended to use blockchain ticketing in a report commissioned by the French government after the UEFA Champions League final.
NFT tickets also offer secondary market control through the use of smart contracts. Smart contracts are pieces of code which control conditions around NFT assets on a blockchain. For example, they can be used to set royalty splits or price ceilings to beat scalpers.
Royalty splits allow event organisers and brands to direct a percentage of revenue from any secondary sale back to a specific wallet address. This can be any percentage from 1-100 and directly impacts the ability of ticket scalpers to make a profit. It also allows fans to trade NFT tickets on a healthy secondary market, should someone be unable to attend for legitimate reasons.
Price ceilings can work in isolation or conjunction with royalty splits. Price ceilings are also set by smart contracts, as is a maximum price for any secondary sale of an NFT ticket. The price ceiling set for secondary sales does not have to be the same as that for primary sales, giving additional flexibility and control to event organisers.
Again, this allows fans to trade tickets on a secondary market while dissuading scalpers from buying tickets from the box office to sell for a profit.
As discussed earlier, there are far greater benefits to event organisers, sports teams and fans that use NFT and blockchain-based ticketing. This is thanks to the ability of blockchain networks to identify NFT ticket holders through their wallet addresses.
A wallet stores a user's NFT assets and has a unique address that can be used to identify them without revealing personal information. Of course, the additional data security is a great improvement on Web2. Still, the unique wallet address means that airdrops can be used to extend, enhance, and improve the experience of fans attending live sporting events.
Fans lucky enough to experience this year's Super Bowl in person discovered that the NFL had minted NFTs as a part of their fan experience strategy. This allowed those attending the stadium to mint an NFT collectable as a souvenir of their time there.
The NFL is not the only sports organisation to explore NFTs. Alongside the ability for fans to mint one for themselves, airdrops are a versatile tool for fan engagement. From NFT membership cards to utility NFTs and official NFT highlights such as the NBA's Top Shot to even more creative projects like Fan Controlled Football (FCF), there are heaps of ways that these unique digital assets can help make sports more engaging for fans.
Those in the crowd could be airdropped an NFT of a big moment from the match. This is because of the traceability that blockchain provides. If tickets to a match or performance are issued as NFTs, it makes it possible for organisers to identify those who hold tickets and airdrop NFT assets to those wallet addresses.
These NFT airdrops can provide additional utility, or the potential for additional revenue in the form of royalty splits from secondary sales revenue.
NFTs differ in their potential to offer a strong return on investment for the initial seller and any vendor in any secondary sales vs Web2 assets.
The ability of blockchain to record ownership and authenticity of these digital items allows organisations minting NFT assets to charge for them. Additionally, should their collectable or other NFT asset increase in value, fans can sell their NFT and clubs can receive a percentage of the sale through royalty splits controlled by smart contracts.
While minting NFTs and selling them may be a profitable enterprise, NFTs can also be given out for free to fans.
The traceability of wallet addresses makes it possible for sports teams to identify their most loyal supporters and airdrop them NFTs. It's yet another reason that blockchain ticketing is perfect for sports!
Fans are the lifeblood of a team, and recognising, and rewarding loyalty is key to keeping fans happy and engaged. Using NFT ticketing for sporting events means organisations and clubs can see who their most loyal fans are and reward this support accordingly.
For example, those who regularly attend matches or games all season could be airdropped a unique souvenir for their support, given early access passes to stadiums or discount vouchers for future matches. These rewards and perks can be tiered, rewarding those with the most consistent support with higher perks and benefits while also recognising consistency at a smaller scale.
Similarly, NFT membership cards can come with a utility which can be split into different tiers. Higher tiers can come with more perks and benefits and, in turn, can command a higher price from both primary and secondary sales.
Aside from the benefits for box office sales, the secondary market, fan experience and potential for additional revenue, NFT ticketing in sports is also versatile regarding how tickets are validated.
Currently, ticketing platforms usually use QR codes, a quick and efficient way to validate tickets at the venue entrance. However, static QR codes can sometimes cause fraudulent tickets or duplicate entry attempts as people screenshot their codes to send or sell to others.
With blockchain ticketing in sports, it's possible to use QR codes or near-field communication (NFC) to validate entry to the stadium. For larger-scale operations, an NFC tag can be bound to the NFT ticket which would allow fans to simply tap their phone against an NFC reader to gain access to the stadium. This is a fast, efficient and contactless way of approaching access control.
These entry options for NFT tickets into sports stadiums mean that clubs and organisations of every size can easily validate blockchain tickets into their sports venues. In turn, using these NFT tickets means they can take advantage of the benefits of NFT ticketing for sports.
Blockchain-based ticketing is a great use case for Web3 technology. The anti-fraud capabilities of decentralised networks and the huge additional potential of airdrops make NFT ticketing a perfect choice for sports.
It's precisely why we're building SeatlabNFT; to help event organisers, artists, and sports organisations take advantage of the benefits of NFT ticketing versus Web2 solutions.
We've got several activation events in the pipeline to showcase our product. So stay tuned for announcements in the coming weeks.