NFT sports opportunities

Loron Orris, AST’s Founding Partner recently moderated the panel “NFT (R)Evolution: From Collectibles and Gamification to Fan Relationship Management” at Stadia Ventures‘ Web3.0 Innovation Summit. 

Panelists including Henry Lowenfels, Chief Product Officer at OneTeam Partners, Jasmine Maietta, CEO at round21 and Michael Thomas, Business Director Sport at Animoca Brands shared insights on how NFTs and digital collectibles are enabling the sports industry to drive commercial and marketing appeal ; leverage their IP and using fandom as a bridge to expand brand awareness and use blockchain technology to enhance the data and design of all types of sports assets, from trading cards and tickets to limited-edition collectibles and play-to-earn fantasy games and more.


  • Sports x Blockchain: A win-win partnership
  • NFTs are changing the game in fan engagement
  • The Challenges: Usability, Education and Utility
  • Different approaches that Animoca Brands, round 21 and OneTeam Partners use to engage sports fans and pioneer the industry
  • What is the next big thing in NFTs?

You can watch the full panel here.

Sports x Blockchain: A win-win partnership

The sports industry is always looking for new forms of media and technology to leverage IP rights to deliver new experiences for fans, to build larger communities of fans, to generate more revenues and to build the value of their sports properties.

We are seeing more and more partnerships developing between blockchain/crypto developers with leading brands, IPs and platforms that are mutually beneficial for both the sports ecosystems and Web3.0.  

NFTs are changing the game in fan engagement

NFTs could offer “fan engagement as a service” through live operations. As these collectibles provide increasing utility for fans to engage with over time (besides scarcity and tradeability), they will disrupt the sports ecosystem as there is a lot of excitement around interactive fan experience powered by blockchain technology.

The questions that need to be addressed are: What can be created with this new technology that will engage people over time? What will make these products unique and work for IP owners and fans? Why will people be attracted to them?

What are the challenges?

1. Creating novelty

One of the key challenges that sports IP and brands are facing is adapting to a more fluid digital and physical world with consumers demanding constant and innovative product updates. Sports fans are demanding products that allow them to feel a sense of individuality and originality while at the same time being part of something larger.

2. Ease of use

Another issue is the ease of use and how fans can use one wallet across multiple chains while using the NFTs. In the future, we will eventually see universal wallets that will work across multiple platforms so that fans can have a simple and seamless user experience that includes using NFTs.


3. Educating and engaging different generations

Different generations of fans consume sports content in vastly different ways these days. As a result, it has been said that explaining some concepts of Web3.0 and digital collectibles to less digitally inclined or older generations requires a bit more time and effort. Therefore, education about NFTs will be crucial to engage fans of all ages.


4. Balancing utility and collectibility

When creating digital assets, to provide individuality and lasting value for the fans, companies will also need to balance both utility and collectibility.

“There’s more utility than just collecting the item and storing it, once you get into the product it’s giving you a reason to come back.”

Henry Lowenfels,  Chief Product Officer @OneTeam Partners

Lowenfels believes that utility means daily engagement as much as possible. It’s not just about buying, collecting, and holding a product, it’s about coming back and touching it in some form on an ongoing basis. Sorare used this logic to enhance fantasy sports.


“Another one on the utility side of things is trying to bring it into real life.”

Michael Thomas, Business Director, Sport @ Animoca Brands

“There are a lot of people just holding these NFTs but as a sports fan, you want to be able to see the sport you love. Some people owning NFTs recently won the opportunity to go to events like the Grand Prix and the Indy 500 and experience Money Can’t Buy Moments.” Thomas explained.


“Every product is the beginning of the next experience.”  

Jasmine Maietta, Founder & CEO @ round 21


It doesn’t end when a product gets delivered and every product delivered is the beginning of the next experience as Maietta suggested.

The next big thing in NFTs

The merging of digital and physical worlds is unlocking the sports culture and the potential for NFTs in sports and sports fans through their self-expression, collectibles, and experiences are creating lucrative opportunities for sports, gaming and blockchain organizations.

In the future, we will see an improved user experience of these digital products with the wider adoption of smart contracts and the improved ability to interact with your favourite stars and other fans across the globe and in the Metaverse.

It is still early days in the world of NFT’s and this emerging form of media with much more to come. Similar to Web2.0 there will be many new use cases, business models and creative energy as NFT’s and Web3.0 continue to develop. For this reason, it is an important space to watch.  

Connect with AST to learn more about the opportunities in Web3.0 and please watch the full panel here for additional insights and learning.


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