Esports and NFTs: The Mutually Beneficial Relationship

Esports and NFTs are edging towards each other like two fated lovers. The magnetism is unmistakable. Why would they not? There’s so much to be gained from their relationship. It’s two rising stars in the modern world, whose symbiosis could blossom into something spectacular.

Esports brands have everything to gain from working with NFTs. The boom in Esports and NFTs is occurring simultaneously and there’s no ceiling on the potential of either. To put this in perspective, the top 100 Esports players in 2021 earned over $1 million each, with the top 10 all scooping over $4 million dollars in prize money. This market screams potential.

In case you’d been sleeping, NFTs had quite a good year last year. During Quarter 3 of 2021, trade volumes for NFTs rose as high as $10.7 billion. There’s an exploding market for these unique digital assets and Esports brands are naturally starting to see the possibilities. If the NBA and the UFC are getting involved, then why would any Esports brand not be working on ways to adopt NFTs into their market?

NFTs afford the opportunity for heightened engagement with fans, something every brand wants. Passionate fans love connecting with their heroes and buying memorabilia.

Sean Zhang, CEO of Talon Esports, said it best after he had penned a deal with leading Esports-focused NFT marketplace Yesports.  

He said: “Web 3.0, NFTs and the metaverse are going to create unique and exciting ways in which we can engage with fans.”

“Having seen the plans of real and virtual work utility, eco-conscious strategy and a great line of esports teams, we cannot be more thrilled as we develop these experiences that will provide genuine value for our fans.”

Talon Esports NFTs, in partnership with Yesports, will allow holders access to signed merchandise drops and online meet-and-greet sessions with players, among a variety of other perks. It can only be a matter of time before more partnerships like this are struck. As I write these words, I’ll bet there’s some exciting deals being made in this space.

Other early adopters include Esports giants OG, who made a cool $1 million from their first NFT drop last year, selling out their NFT Mystery Boxes in a matter of seconds. Recently 100 Thieves joined the fray with their free giveaway of 300,000 Polygon NFTs, which they named “Commemorative Digital 100 Thieves Championship Chains.”

NFTs provide an opportunity for a significant source of revenue. Firstly, those who play Esports can later trade/sell their in-game assets and achievements as NFTs. Secondly, for brands who have a huge fanbase, the sky’s the limit with NFTs – in the form of unique collectibles like videos, artwork and merchandise. Keep your fan base happy and make some meaningful money in the process. Win-win, right?

Not exactly. Let’s remember that this is only the beginning for NFTs in what is a largely unregulated marketplace. Scammers and fraudsters are ubiquitous online and they’ve seen an opportunity to exploit the NFT marketplace. Esports giants EA and Ubisoft recently distanced themselves from the adoption of NFTs and questions have been raised about authenticity, security and quality of NFT products.

Esports companies who are moving to adopt NFTs, like Epic Games, will be addressing these concerns to earn the trust of the Esports community.

The love story is just beginning with Esports and NFTs and we have barely scratched the surface as these two worlds collide. With some 2.6 billion people playing games online, and NFTs providing novel ways to create engagement and value for players, it seems a matter of when, not if, all major Esports brands climb aboard the ship.

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