Is Web3 the “Game-changer” the Sports Industry Needs?

Can Web3 and sports lead to a perfect match? From NFTs to fan tokens to immersive experiences, EBC panelists explored the future of sports fandom!
The popular panel “Blockchain and the Sports Industry” at EBC23

Previously worked at Google, FIFA, and sports TV channels, Bianca Andreea, Developer Advocate of Balancer, Teodora Ivanova, VP of Football at Dapper Labs, Jean-Charles Gaudechon, CEO of OneFotball Labs, Pablo Monti, Brand Ambassador at BingX, and Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Chilliz and, discussed the future of Web3 sports!

The Current State of the Web3 Sports Ecosystem

Alexandre points out that the current state of the Web3 sports ecosystem is challenging due to the fast-paced and volatile nature of the crypto industry. He believes that recent negative news in the crypto space has made it even more challenging to attract an audience, despite sports being a larger and more mainstream industry compared to decentralized finance (DeFi).

Teodora argues that as the 2021 hype faded, industry stakeholders need to delve into the fundamental question of how to effectively convey the value of this emerging technology to a wider audience. Pablo also emphasizes the importance of identifying the value and disruption that the technology can bring to the whole industry, rather than solely focusing on securing sponsorships.

Pablo and Alexandre shared their insights on Web3 and sports at EBC23
Pablo and Alexandre shared their insights on Web3 and sports at EBC23.

JC also observes that the current football ecosystem is very fragmented but not decentralized. The industry consists of a bunch of centralized islands of federations, clubs, teams, or even player agents that make it incredibly hard to navigate.

JC thinks that the widespread adoption of Web3 in the sports industry will require a focus on education and creating immersive experiences. He realizes that there’s still a lot of work needed to explain the technology to the end customers and convince them to embrace Web3.

NFTs are not a market. NFTs are not an industry. It’s an underlining technology that has the potential to really transform how fans engage with what they love, but also how sports IP generates commercial value online.

Teodora Ivanova, VP of Football at Dapper Labs
Bianca and Teodora discussed sports fan engagement in Web3 at EBC23
Bianca and Teodora discussed sports fan engagement in Web3 at EBC23.

Enhancing the Fan Experience

JC thinks that it’s important to let fans play a more active role in the sports they love. The space should be more accessible. He argues that the majority of football fans are not able to watch a live game in the stadium while football stars are impossible to approach.

Teodora believes that Web3 can enhance fan engagement through ownership, creating primary and secondary markets, and allowing fans to express their loyalty through collecting digital assets.

Alexandre believes that fan engagement entails investing both money and time into something that brings enjoyment. He thinks since different fans engage with the sports teams in different ways, it’s thus important to devise innovative methods to allow fans around the world to have a relationship with the team in the way they want.

Alexandre also highlights the importance of ownership, scarcity, and value through blockchain. He thinks that experience is key, but he admits that solutions are still needed as experience is difficult to scale, and intellectual property (IP) considerations and limitations that exist for traditional brands in the sports industry are also worth noticing.

Watch the EBC interview highlight with Teodora Ivanova from Dapper Labs, the company behind CryptoKitties, NBA Top Shot, NFL All Day, UFC Strike and the Flow blockchain!

Utility is Key

In the football ecosystem, the fan is the glue, not anyone else. If we bring utility to that fan, Web3 can actually play a massive role in football, specifically actually bringing all these actors much closer to each other.

Jean-Charles Gaudechon, CEO of OneFotball Labs

JC thinks that no matter which medium the team decides to use to create fan engagement, utility is still the most important thing. Teodora believes that the development of use cases in Web3 and sports will be driven by developers who can leverage the composability of Web3 to create new utility and innovation.

Alexandre points out that NFTs may not be necessary to act as tickets for a football game, and it’s thus important to think of what other value can fan tokens bring. He thinks Web3 and sports have the potential to enhance experiences and bring brands outside of their comfort zone.

Want to invest in crypto tokens? Read this article and learn how to DYOR!

Watch the whole panel and learn how to navigate the decentralized landscape of the Web3 sports industry!

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