What we learned from “NFTs and Fidget Spinners: Navigating the Crossroads of Hype”


by Editorial Staff

What is the true potential for NFTs in the world of sport? Can these tokens live up to their own hype?


by Editorial Staff

What is the true potential for NFTs in the world of sport? Can these tokens live up to their own hype?

We recently hosted a webinar featuring Scott Davidson (CEO, TLA Merchandise) alongside our very own Annabelle McGee (Principal Experience Designer, Deltatre), and Pete Burns (VP Commercial Strategy, Deltatre). Below, you can find some of the key learnings from this session.

The definition of an NFT (non-fungible token) is pretty open. Are NFTs just physical collectibles in a digital space?

Is there a difference between a traditional trading card and an NFT in terms of being an authentic collectible?

Scott outlined his perspective on NFTs when compared to traditional collectibles, and how NFTs might become widely accepted as more legitimate collector’s items:

“I hope that NFTs become traditional collectibles. As a person who deals in physical collectibles, I’m intrigued by what an NFT can become. […] I like the idea of it but I still think there’s a lot of work that needs to go into the strategy of creating value and then communicating that value.”

“The only reason collectibles exist is because people like to collect things. They like the ownership, and the quest, and the status of owning something that somebody else doesn’t. But there’s also a massive amount of trust in collecting you need to trust the market to know that what you have is unique.”

Is there an “average” NFT buyer in the current market?

What kinds of individuals are engaging most with this technology?

Annabelle analyzed the different types of buyers currently involved with the NFT market:

“There are the traditional collectors, looking at it from a traditional perspective. Then you have the savvy digital native […] who is excited by the new technology. It’s interesting to look at the NFT value proposition for both of these groups. There’s interest for both segments, but it’s not quite enough to get them across the line.”

“You then have the fan group, which is huge. How many of them actually fit within either of those two categories? […] If they’re not super tech savvy or aware of the technology, you’re losing that fan group. From my perspective, it's all about the value proposition to the fans as a whole, as opposed to focusing on NFT buyers specifically.”



NFTs and Fidget Spinners: Navigating the Crossroads of Hype

Watch the full webinar

What challenges might emerge as NFTs grow in popularity, and what new opportunities might develop alongside them?

If NFTs from disjointed and isolated sources begin to flood the market, this could cause some fragmentation for both sports fans and federations.

However, if sports brands can create truly exceptional token experiences and value propositions, they can establish themselves as superior to other providers.

Scott explained the difficulties that might come with trying to regulate NFTs, but also the exciting opportunities that tokens provide:

“Policing the market is a risk. Even if someone is breaching IP, how do you stop them from doing it? […] It’s better to be in the market with a better proposition and building trust. The token economy gives us the opportunity to really reward the fans.”

“There’s so many ways that this can be built to create better value and fan engagement. Better rewards for the fans, who are being legitimately rewarded for being loyal.”

Annabelle expanded on this point around fan loyalty:

“There are die-hard, passionate, loyal fans to clubs. It’s been a very one-way relationship so far, and I think that NFT technology is exciting in terms of creating a two-way relationship. […] It’s empowering for fans, and drives that loyalty even further. There’s so much opportunity there.”

Tokens are obviously unlocking new opportunities for fan engagement – but is this really a priority for sports leagues and federations?

Are NFTs going to become part of wider engagement strategies?

Annabelle: “The priority is working out your goals and ambitions. NFTs might be a solution to these challenges, but they shouldn’t necessarily be the priority. The key is understanding fans in order to influence those broader digital strategies.”

“The broad, holistic view and strategy is absolutely key for long-term engagement and success. […] A lot of the work we do is around understanding fans and motivations so that we can deliver that. Not just designing and delivering a product that’s ticking off a list of features. It’s a lot bigger than that.”

NFTs can certainly play a role in wider fan engagement initiatives, but their inclusion needs to make sense. They also need to offer something genuinely interesting and appealing for fans.

Scott then summarised the real potential for tokens in the realm of fan engagement:

“The ‘value’ will be in whatever your fans recognize as real value. Most of the time, it’s not worth anything it’s just the special access, treatment, communication, and engagement with the club. That’s what they value. This is an efficient mechanism to give them that.”

If you want to learn more about the potential of NFTs in the world of sport, check out the full webinar here.