(This is a two-part article. If you haven’t already, read part 1 here. Or be like my friend who started Game of Thrones on season 5, regret it and pretend for years that it was still the right move.)
Before we get to the point of access vs. excess, let’s quickly establish how an NFT on its face has value.
(If you already know all of this, feel free to skip to the next section)
While the boomers amongst us look at a headline of Brady dropping nearly half a mill on an NFT and say “what a waste of money on a colorful, cartoon ape, whose smoking a joint” or“why n not just screenshot it,” an NFT that comes from a respectable project is actually so much more.
Regarding the “colorful” and “cartoon,” they’re not wrong. NFTs are usually very colorful and cartoon-like. But those colors and features are what gives them their basic value, as each in a collection is unique, which varying degrees of rarity based on those characteristics. For example, Brady bought Bored Ape #3667, which has the properties of “Angry” and “Bored Unshaven Cigarette.” Only 4% of every Ape in the collection has those qualities.
An NFT from a popular project with those rare qualities would give a holder the opportunity to, well, hold (or hodl) for a while and then resell on a platform like Opensea for a more than decent profit. Just as one could hold and sell stocks, or a piece of art.
But, with a good project like Bored Ape Yacht Club, there’s another layer, which is where all this becomes less excess, more access.
Less Excess, More Access
Beyond that basic lesson in value is where the future of NFTsand sports becomes a potential relationship in access.
Take the Bored Ape Yacht Club. Beyond the value of the NFT, holders are given exclusive access to events and opportunities – both online and in real life.
Any ape-holder, for instance, is given access to the BAYC Bathroom. Yes this is a real thing and its a members only online area where an ape-holder can paint a pixel on the digital bathroom wall every fifteen minutes. The project then turns around and puts a time-lapse of the experience up for auction on Opensea, raising visibility and value.
And in real life, the BAYC holds exclusive events for ape-holders. They also aren’t a joke. A recent event in New York was put on by the coordinators of Coachella. Although attendees are known to wear monkey masks and eat bananas. But if you made millions from a digital image of a money, you’d probably do they same. So, the joke is on us.
Yet another way NFT projects grant access to holders is through airdrops, where more NFTs or other digital assets are sent directly to a holder’s crypto wallet. Stephen Curry, mentioned earlier as an ape-holder, recently launched his own NFT collection, 2,974 and for his 34th birthday, he surprised holders with an airdrop of birthday cake themed NFTs. Taking it a Steph further, he then granted a few all-expense paid vacations to San Francisco to holders of specific NFTs in his collection, another popular way projects grant exclusive access to holders.
What This All Means For Sports
(If you’ve read this far, thank you for indulging me in that detailed explanation of NFTs. I usually don’t get beyond the first few lines with friends, family and co-workers, before their eyes glaze over or they just start talking over me. And now for the point).
Considering the power of NFTs to both produce a return on investment over time and provide access to exclusivity, it seems more than likely that projects for athletes and entire franchises will soon be the norm. Brady is just the start.
Imagine a world where every great moment, can be captured sold and owned. Think if you could own the next buzzer beater, the next grand slam or the penalty kick that won gold. That’s what athletes can offer, while also giving holders of their projects access to them. For example, if someone held a given number of NFTs in a collection, they could actually meet the athlete, get autographs or attend their exclusive parties.
Similarly, franchises are likely to follow suit on this trend. And for this simple reason – ask yourself, as a season ticket holder, would you rather have tickets, or an NFT that gets you to your seats, provides ROI over time and gives you access to exclusivity from the franchise.
It’d be no shock at all, if tech savvy owners like Mark Cuban are already planning NFT levels with varying value and rewards, like access to coach meet and greets, NFT-only areas in the stadium or even a chance to watch practices or go in the locker room.
The possibilities are endless. As are value add-ons an athlete or franchise can give to fans.
So yes, Brady buying a piece of digital art for $430,000 is a bit excessive. But when considering the potential of sports and NFTs, it’s much more likely a practice in studying access.