Two three letter acronyms, NIL and NFT, seem to be all the fun these days when it comes to the potential for athlete monetization in college sports. NIL standing for name, image, and likeness, and NFT standing for non-fungible token in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space now crossing over into the entertainment, media, and sports industries as a way to monetize moments in time. In the NIL space, it would also seem logical to think that NFTs would follow NIL because it is a tool to monetize athlete moments in college sports and beyond.
Monetizable moments go beyond the hardcourt and gridiron however. Rap artists and other musicians, creatives, and the like are all clamoring for the glamour to sell the next best NFT to a willing buyer. In 2020, the world collectively raced to go digital, while in 2021 and beyond the business world must find ways to offer services and programming as options (digital and in-person) to meet consumers where they feel comfortable. The aforementioned is not a new concept. Businesses must adapt to survive and giving the customer options increases scale and distribution to existing and new customers.
Take ticket event distributor and platform SeatGeek for example. The company wants to create NFTs as collectible moments for and from concerts, stand-up comedy, sports events, and other entertainment programming for fans and buyers. It also wants customers to be able to exchange tickets, NFTs, and cryptocurrency as a way to introduce an entire ecosystem of exchange and barter without using a proverbial or real dollar. It is like the real life “Oasis” construct in Steven Spielberg’s 2018 feature film “Ready Player One” where participants spend if as much time if not more inside the digital reality versus the real world.
In 2020, iPhone spending on games grew forty-three percent (43%) year-over-year for an average of $76.80 in additional consumer spending. It is not far off to think that those games and their digital marketplace can be opened to other ventures and experiences inside Apple and beyond. It will be interesting to follow the increase or decrease in games/application spending once people start going outside again as local and state restrictions are lifted. Mainly, however, people move markets not the government so the question is have consumer habits and interests changed in the past year to see 2020 trends continue or discontinue into 2021 and beyond?
Buzzer recently introduced the ninety-nine cent ($0.99) bit-sized snippets of content and live look-ins for professional sports with the National Hockey League (NHL) and Professional Golfers Association (PGA) partnering up for the service offering. The deal follows the trend that more people, particularly the younger and up and coming generation, want to watch and engage with content on their mobile and similar devices. Facebook’s Hotline, Spotify’s Locker Room, and Clubhouse are all examples of this combining tech with conversation (e.g., content and engagement).
College sports will be the next big industry to tap into monetizable products for athletes and fans. When and where that arrives is anyone’s guess. Uncertainty and necessity are nevertheless at the forefront of technological innovation. The technology has only accelerated to match consumer interests and increasing digital presence. The new platforms and tech only increase opportunity.