The Warm Welcome of NFTs into the NBA and the Wider Sports Industry 

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital assets that can represent digital or real-world items. Generally, they’re one-of-a-kind assets or, if not that, then exist in limited quantities. These collectors items are bought and sold online, and they’re more or less encoded with the same underlying software that cryptocurrencies. 

Conceptually, NFTs have existed since around 2013, but it wasn’t until 2017 that they first started to become more popular. The arrival of the Ethereum blockchain and its ability to host NFTs enabled the creation, storage, programming and trading of the tokens, and ultimately revolutionized the NFT landscape. 

Interestingly, NFTs have made their way into the sports industry. One organization that has welcomed the introduction of NFTs has been the NBA. Below is a look at the relationship between the NBA and NFTs, what NFTs in the NBA look like and how they work, and at the impact of NFTs on the sports industry. 

Understanding the relationship between NFTs and the NBA

The NBA is looking constantly for ways to improve the engagement of its fans and connect with fans. The creation of NFTs has given them an opportunity to do this. The organization understands that fans want to feel more connected to the NBA, especially if they can’t make it to games or other NBA events. Many fans, in an effort to connect more to the NBA, do so in the form of NBA player props bets, but now the existence of NFTs has created another avenue for them to achieve this. Holding NFTs is a chance for a fan to show their support for the organization without having any physical presence. 

Of course, these assets are collectible. Both fans and players can own something that represents their passion for the sport. It can be physical. It can be digital. To the fan or player, it doesn’t matter. It’s about their love of the game. 

NFTs in the NBA

NBA games have produced many moments of basketball drama and genius on the court, and now fans can relive them. On the Top Shot marketplace, can buy, sell and trade NFTs called “Moments” that exist in the form of video clips.

A lot of these Top Shot moments are clips of specific plays, such as a dunk by LeBron James or a layup by Steph Curry. Each one is minted with a unique serial number and data. This includes game stats and player stats. Some fans might call this kind of NFT art, rather than a mere video clip. 

It’s very simple to buy, sell or trade an NFT on the marketplace. Fans just have to create an account on the NBA one or on other marketplaces where NBA NFTs are available. Moments are accessible. Some are extremely affordable, whereas others are much more expensive. One of the LeBron James ones, for instance, has a sale value of $1 million. 

Top Shots aren’t the NBA’s only foray into the world of NFTs. The Association is another well-known NFT initiative. These dynamic NFTs are inspired by the players’ performances on the court. They change over time, based on the team’s and players’ performances. There are at least two versions of The Association NFTs.

The impact of NFTs on the sports industry

As well as providing something extra special for sports fans, NFTs are having lots of other benefits for the sports industry.

A new source of revenue for leagues

Normally, sports leagues have derived their revenue from sponsorship, media rights, and sales of merchandise and tickets. Teams can create additional revenue by producing NFTs. They can transform tickets into NFTs, they can stream live games to token holders and can even put on token holder-only events. 

Individual branding for athletes

NFTs provide athletes with a stellar opportunity to enhance their personal brand because they can release their own NFT collections. Just like trading cards, NFTs offer an opportunity for sports stars to interact with their own fans. The fans can show these mementos of their favorite players on social media to display their team’s colors.

NFTs also give the athletes more protection of their own intellectual property. Since they’re the NFT creators they can collect royalties from these assets, become wealthy and put the money towards retirement. 

Combating piracy and counterfeit memorabilia

The unique nature of NFTs allows sports teams and organizations to prove the authenticity and ownership of these digital assets. This helps them to fight the sale of counterfeit memorabilia and unauthorized use of their content online. 

NFTs are an exciting and relatively new asset, and the NFT has gotten on in this trend in collectibles. Fans who can’t attend NBA games or other events have a new way to engage with the NBA and indulge in their love of the sport and of the organization. 


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