Investing in NFT ticket stubs is likely one of the NBA’s next big crypto ventures

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NBA best shot, a collection of NBA NFTs featuring highlights, GIFs, and other classic NBA moments, recently surpassed $1 billion in sales. There have been highs and lows over the lifetime of the business, and it surely hasn’t reached the same heights it teased in early 2021, but Top Shot has remained a viable business even through one of the worst accidents in the history of the crypto market.

The NBA took notice, as did many American crypto gurus. Not too long ago, crypto influencer and CEO of VaynerMedia Gary Vaynerchuk (known online as Gary Vee) claimed that the NBA was moving towards turning ticket stubs into non-fungible tokens, even with market volatility rearing its ugly head in recent weeks. .

Vaynerchuk is not the only one to believe this, however. Several crypto experts share this sentiment. “It was inevitable,” said Dr. Dustin Yorkassociate professor of communication at Maryville University. “The crash was going to happen, just like e-commerce was huge, then e-commerce crashed, right? Everyone said ‘Yeah. I told you so,’ but Amazon doubled down at that time and now 82% of households have Amazon Prime. It’s exactly the same. There’s going to be a lot of defectors, but everyone in this space has said pretty openly that it’s coming, so for the big brands like the NBA, now is the time to go.

In recent years, collecting memorable ticket stubs has become a hobby for many collectors. An excerpt from Kobe Bryant’s first career game? It looks like a pretty impressive piece of memorabilia. What about his 81 point game? It’s probably even cooler. I mean, you can go to eBay right now and find heels that fit that criteria. This end of Kobe’s career opener against the Phoenix Suns and fellow rookie Steve Nash is listed at $4,000, and Nash and Bryant only combined for 5:10 played in that game. Even sports personalities like Darren Rovell entered the trend.

As the market for these heels grows, it only makes sense that the NBA would also participate.

“The team sells the ticket for face value many years ago, but when that stub is sold much more often, the team gets none of that money,” York explained. “But with an NFT stub, that changes. Let’s say a new recruit comes into the NBA next season and he turns out to be the next LeBron James. This ticket stub from his first game, as an NFT, the team can put a commission on it – 20% or whatever, the NBA decides. In 10 years, when it’s worth a lot of money, me or whoever owns this NFT, can sell it for say $100,000. The NBA can still collect 20% of that sale, because it’s all on a smart contract.

The ability to track these digital NFT stubs is probably a big draw for the NBA or individual teams looking to cash in on the ticket stub trend, because it’s impossible to have backdoor deals that slip right under the nose of the NBA.

It’s not like these digital stubs will become any more valuable than their physical counterparts. These already have intrinsic value and will likely become more valuable as heels become more digital in the future. However, the NBA’s ability to make money many years later from NFT stubs will create enough reason for the NBA to strike these NFTs, even if their value does not match that of the physical stubs.

Additionally, the fact that each NFT stub can be traced online is a great way for teams to collect data about their consumers.

“Let’s take the example of the St. Louis Cardinals, because it can be bigger than basketball,” York said. “The St. Louis Cardinals have no way of knowing which fan has attended the most games this year. Even if you look at season ticket holders, they don’t know who used those tickets. These data are however available via the NFTs. If you have NFT stubs, you have verifiable proof that certain people have gone to certain games, and that data can be used for targeted promotions or advertisements or things like that to help improve the overall experience of fans.

This use of NFT data creates many opportunities for teams to give back to their fans. York hypothesized a scenario where a team can incentivize people to attend games and, through NFT tracing, can identify the 100 people who attended the most games and offer them perks or VIP access for their loyalty during this season. Depending on those benefits, that might be enough of an incentive for some fans to attend more games.

There’s also a fan sense of superiority that comes with NFT heels.

As York said, “Fans don’t want to be lumped in with fanatics. With NFT heels, even if a fan sold their heel several years later, it can still be traced back to them, giving them proof that they were there when things weren’t going so well.

“Take the Warriors for example. I can say all I want that I was a fan when Andris Biedrinš was the centre, but I can’t prove it. I can buy an Antawn Jamison jersey or an old school cap with the guy holding the lightning bolt, you know? But I could have bought it at any time. Those NFTs, if they were there at that time, would prove that I was there at those games, cheering on my team before they became the dynasty they are now.

These digital stubs provide irrefutable proof of fandom that can give many fans the sense of superiority they claim. Is it a toxic feeling of superiority? Absolutely, but there’s money to be made in it, so there’s no doubt the NBA and individual teams wouldn’t look into it.

Physical ticket stubs will always retain value, but this is an asset people need to take care of first. Most of them are tossed or tossed in a trouser pocket to be forgotten and then found in the dryer eight months later. You really have to think about your heels for years if you want them to have any value, but with NFTs that’s not the case.

It lives with you forever, and many years later, if you remember going to a game that turned out to be an all-time classic, you can search for it, find your heel, and hopefully , earn money quickly. Although the value of digital stubs is unlikely to ever reach the value of a physical stub, given the finite amount of physical stubs printed each play, and the fact that physical stubs can also accrue autographs and d other value enhancers over time, the peace of mind an investor has of not having to worry about the quality of the stub and remembering where it is at all times almost offsets this loss of monetary value.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m going to get involved with NFT ticket stubs as soon as they start to get popularized. I’m much more invested in the physical heel game. I even developed my own little collection, consisting mostly of famous San Francisco Giants games, ranging from Matt Cain’s Perfect Game in 2012 to each of Madison Bumgarner’s appearances in the 2014 World Series (yes, I’m flexing a little).

However, I still welcome these NFT stubs with open arms, because the more people turn to these NFTs, the more valuable and rare physical stubs become. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved, and it can’t happen soon enough.


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