There’s hardly a person now that hasn’t heard about crypto and the blockchain. However, the widespread popularity of this technology hasn’t quite translated into widespread adoption. Some industries have welcomed the blockchain and crypto quite readily while others are more cautious.
Aside from the obvious uses in fintech, the sports industry also turns to the blockchain, with the U.S. major sports already having adopted it for a variety of purposes.
NBA Crypto Purchases
The professional basketball league is very welcoming of the blockchain and crypto. Last year, Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks announced that they would start accepting cryptocurrency for tickets and merch.
Also, last year, the Sacramento Kings announced they’ve started mining Ethereum, becoming the first sports team to do so. The Kings were also the first NBA team to have accepted crypto payments five years ago, and their Golden 1 Center arena is a technological marvel stuffed with smart tech.
In one of the latest developments, last month, UnitedCoin partnered with the Cleveland Cavaliers to build a loyalty program on the blockchain for the team’s fan base.
Exclusive NFL Content
It seems 2018 was significant for the major sports teams and their venturing in the blockchain. In the summer of 2018, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) purchased a minor stake in the live-streaming platform SportsCastr, which runs on the blockchain. The idea is to let NFL players act as commentators on their free time and profit in crypto from it. Viewers can access the SportsCastr content through crypto payments, and fans can also use it to buy tickets and merchandise.
And while the NFLPA has undertaken the initiative, Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs Casey Schwab said for CoinDesk: “We’re not limiting it to any sports. It’s really about engaging all athletes,” hinting that the plan is to expand the platform to other sports leagues as well.
Major League Baseball (MLB) is also quite familiar with the blockchain.
Collecting baseball cards used to be a huge thing, and some rare editions can still fetch a pretty penny. Now, the MLB has adapted to modern times, releasing MLB Champions — a blockchain marketplace developed by Lucid Sight where fans collect and trade virtual baseball cards.
Of course, the minds behind the project have also thought about exclusivity and how it will affect the prices of the collectibles. So, in addition to only releasing a limited number of collectibles for the MLB star players, during the launch, prices fluctuated based on the demand.
Betting with Crypto
For some time now, there’ve been talks about the use of the blockchain when wagering on sports. Now, if you’d like to place money on the World Series winner through the providers listed on Oddschecker, then you can only do it with cash or through a bank transaction. There are some smaller betting providers that work with crypto, but they are rather niche.
After all, it’s been less than a year since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to legalize sports betting, so as far as the USA is concerned, the blockchain’s bright future in sports wagering might be yet to come.
Sports Future of Blockchain
As of how the tech, in general, will benefit the sports industry, the possibilities are endless, providing there are enough teams willing to implement them. Major teams already show how to use crypto to make it easier for fans to purchase tickets and merch, upgrade their seats and access exclusive content.
Proposals for bolder uses include paying out wages on the blockchain, storing and distributing performance data, and introducing contracts that “live” on decentralized networks.
In only a year, all the major sports leagues announced blockchain-related projects. From allowing crypto payments to releasing collectibles, pro teams and leagues put the technology to good use and seem determined to ingrain it even further in the playing and watching experience. So, with the sports betting industry gaining traction post-PASPA, will sport wagering operators follow suit?
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