Cryptocurrency has developed as a major player in sporting circles in 2021 as many teams, and sports stars have been getting involved. Not only has there has been interest in the currency from teams and sports, but there has also been a rise in the attention given to NFTs too.
NFTs or non-fungible tokens are digital assets that are built using the same technology as cryptocurrencies. They are 100% unique: they can be associated with anything from photos, video, or audio files, and that’s mainly where they’ve been integrated into the sporting arena. Players, clubs, and organizations have used them to grow their revenue and engagement levels with supporters, creating a new marketplace of one-of-a-kind digital items that fans can purchase; they’re assets that in some cases are worth millions of dollars.
Recently we’ve seen eyes focus on pool, with the Mosconi Cup being broadcasted to over 20 countries around the world. Inside the venue, there were thousands in attendance to see Europe retain the trophy. So, with the sport still in the public’s mind’s eye, maybe it’s the right time for our sport to break into the latest digital innovation. So let’s take a look at how that could happen.
Pool fan tokens
These are new innovations in the developing world of the NFT that have attracted a lot of interest in the last 12 months. Mainly organizations in team sports have driven the introduction of fan tokens, which has revolutionized the way clubs engage with their supporters. These tokens are being sold to fans as a digital piece of memorabilia in the colors of their favorite teams, but not only does the owner have something collectible they can call their own, they offer other benefits too. The tokens can be used as a ticket to access some exclusive memorabilia and to give fans a degree of influence with their chosen team. For example, Spanish soccer club Barcelona asked fan token owners what mural should be adorning their dressing room wall and what message should be on the captain’s armband. If these were introduced to our game, they could be decisions around what colors the U.S team could wear in the next Mosconi Cup in Las Vegas or the color of the cloth on the table in the competition.
Across the sports world, individual players have started embracing the digital and offering their own collections of pictures, images, and clips. These are one-off designs that fans of the particular player can keep as their own, making them very valuable to the fans. Imagine being the owner of a one-off image of the most incredible shot ever, which led to Efren Reyes defeating the legendary Earl Strickland, or what if the purchase of an NFT was linked to ownership of The Pearls’ cue? That’s pretty valuable, right?
We’ve all seen collectible cards, we’ve bought them in shops, been trading in the school ground and more. But the latest innovation has seen them come to the digital marketplace too. The NBA has got behind the initiative too by creating officially licensed collectibles, and it’s been a roaring success. Each card is a one-off, meaning their scarcity adds more to their value; could this be something that the United States Professional Poolplayers Association should get behind too.