Hey Sports Tech Fans,
As a heads up, this will likely be the last newsletter of the year. It’s possible there might be more, but with next Friday being Christmas eve and the following one being New Year’s Eve, I am just not sure.
What a crazy year it’s been in the world of sports and sports tech.
The Euro 2020 final between England and Italy feels like a lifetime ago.
It’s most certainly been the year of crypto in sports.
From massive naming rights deals, to fan tokens to NFT’s to sponsorship deals between all manners of sports teams and all manners of blockchain technologies.
Sports pre covid was a laggard compared to others in the entertainment and media business.
But the same can’t be said in 2020 and 2021.
The adoption of blockchain technologies has been fascinating to watch.
I don’t think I had a blockchain/crypto section up until this year but there most certainly was an explosion of news stories on the subject this year.
Sports has had a very tough time in the light of covid, subsequent lockdowns, no games, no fans in stadiums, issues with some broadcasting deals etc.
Teams, leagues and federations has looked for new sources of funding and crypto seems to have been a major factor in making up the shortfall in revenues.
Fan tokens have been adopted en masse in 2021.
There is an excellent piece of research below from the BBC.
It says that about $350 million of fan tokens have been sold to date.
There are 24 teams from the top 5 European football leagues with fan tokens, including 8 Premier League teams.
As someone who is interested in both sports and blockchain technology, I have been keeping a close eye on developments.
It is hard to say whether fans buying these tokens are genuinely fans of the club offering the token or if they are people looking to trade the coins for a profit. Do these tokens provide real utility to fans?
Clubs have also partnered with companies like Sorare for collectible games and fantasy sports games.
So far 215 clubs have licensed their content to Sorare as they announced a $680 million funding deal in September to take their total raised to date to $738 million.
Watching their founder at WebSummit in November it’s clear that they will look to US sports next to continue their expansion.
They were not without their own issues this year as it is being investigated by the UK Gambling Commission for potential breaches of gambling laws in the regulated market of the UK.
I don’t see a slowing down of cryptos takeover of sports in 2022.
The hyperbole around it might dampen but adoption will continue and new innovations will happen in the space.
There is even a group of crypto investors looking to buy a football league team in the UK. The article from the Washington Post is below.
It is not a Premier League team but might be in a similarly placed team to Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s Wrexham.
A couple of weeks ago I also shared news of a DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation) looking to pool resources to buy and NBA team. This might be a bit pie in the sky as things currently stand but the sheer amount of money in the crypto space is stunning.
There are so many new things being tried in the industry it makes for a fascinating watch, but things do come with potential risks.
I recently came across a project promising all the sports content in the world for buying into and holding their token, a 3-second look at the white paper identified it as a pure scam but that didn’t stop people from buying into the hype and losing money.
There are huge opportunities and innovations happening in the space right now but I think a healthy reminder that there are also risks for fans, investors and sports teams and leagues is always welcome.
Have a great sporting weekend,