A highly engaged fanbase is crucial to the success of certain niches, including sports and entertainment. And stakeholders who know how to maximize the fanbase’s profitability are the ones who bag the riches from those niches. In recent times, this means leveraging NFTs in fan engagement.
We’ll show you the opportunities NFTs present for fan engagement and profitability. And we’ll go beyond the theory by presenting examples, use cases, and step-by-step implementation. First, let’s take a closer look at how NFTs are feeding fan engagement.
Why are NFTs critical to effective fan engagement?
The NFT and blockchain technology open opportunities for fan engagement that you simply mustn’t miss out on.
Offer new ways to interact
NFTs are changing the way fans interact with sports teams, celebrities, and networks of sponsors. They’re bringing offline activities into the online world, with fans switching from signed T-shirts to limited edition trading cards and opting for NFT tickets over traditional event tickets. The already avid supporters are becoming even more engaged, with NFT assets raising the stakes, both monetarily and emotionally.
Provide fan monetization
NFTs offer new ways to monetize your fanbase. The sports world, for one, is no longer just profiting from the usual memorabilia, such as jerseys, player cards, and pins. NFTs are disrupting the scene with blockchain player cards, sports art, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and other digital assets and collectibles.
Additionally, musicians and artists are using NFTs to bypass traditional selling models. They are leveraging decentralized ledgers and their social reach to connect with consumers directly. They no longer have to rely on a middleman to sell their art, albums, event passes, or concert tickets.
Increase fan loyalty
You can also leverage fan loyalty with reward mechanisms that let you build relationships that are as meaningful as they are profitable. The key here is to offer rewards that truly strike a chord. NFTs are particularly enticing because of their exclusivity and rarity. They are, after all, non-fungible or unique and irreplaceable.
You can take the cue from brands that use proof-of-attendance protocols (POAP) to promote event tickets and foster fan loyalty. These digital souvenirs come in the form of badges or stickers that fans can use to attend exclusive events or online groups. They often have high monetary value and can be traded in marketplaces.
Help with community building
Developing a community around an NFT is integral to its success. Unfortunately, community-building is hard to pull off. But fortunately for famous personalities and brands, they already have a fanbase that they can easily tap into. You can incentivize participation with fan tokens, which are cryptocurrencies that provide membership perks like club voting rights, rewards, merchandise, and access to events.
Gary Vaynerchuk shows us how it’s done with VeeFriends tokens, which give owners access to his multi-day VeeCon event. This project brings to life Vaynerchuk’s dream of using NFT technology to build a community around his business passions.
Increase sponsor/partner ROI
You want your sponsors and partners to see a return on their investment. One way to make this happen is by awarding tokens to fans in exchange for interacting with sponsored content. You can also facilitate new mechanisms for interaction between your fans and sponsors.
For example, you can feature a ‘presenting sponsor’ on a digital ticket that fans can trade for an NFT representing a game highlight. Fans will rave over the memorabilia that lets them own a moment of the game.
Support crowdfunding initiatives
Via crowdfunding, NFTs are providing fans with the opportunity to invest in or contribute to the projects of their favorite personalities. Fans can now support their favorite sports team or athlete with NFTs that fund training and travel expenses. They can also help artists raise the money they need to create art, go on tours, or participate in an exhibit.
FanVestor, for one, offers equity crowdfunding to fans who’d like to participate in the enterprises or charity projects of celebrities. Their roster currently includes SuperDope Q, DJ Khaled, and Ryan Seacrest, among others.
Reimagine the concept of tickets
Now you can offer NFT tickets to your events. These tickets provide unique access credentials to each user, and they often come with exclusive meet-and-greets, limited edition merchandise, and other perks.
Because NFT tickets are offered via the blockchain, you can distribute them without the help of intermediaries. And ticket owners who cannot make it to the event can trade their tickets without losing money or incurring penalties. The event holders can even gain royalties from the resale of tickets on third-party platforms.
Improve UX and security in betting & fantasy leagues
NFTs are starting to create a buzz in sports betting and fantasy leagues. Because they’re decentralized, no single party controls the data, and everything is transparent on a digital ledger. Hence, people needn’t worry about falling victim to fraudulent transactions. Like cryptocurrencies, NFTs do a great job of ensuring provably fair gambling.
NFTs also bring an element of novelty that’s particularly appealing to fans. Case in point, Sorare has taken a unique approach to fantasy football by allowing fans to buy, trade, and collect NFTs on Ethereum.
Let’s consider these NFT benefits with actual use cases that demonstrate their potential.
Use cases of blockchain and NFT technology in fan engagement
NFT technology is already making waves in the world of sports, art, and entertainment. Let’s explore some NFT campaigns initiated by big industry names.
NFT for sports fans
Sports teams and personalities have been making big bucks with their limited edition NFTs.
NBA Top Shot
NBA Top Shot is an NFT marketplace that lets fans collect and trade Moments or video clips of highlights from the National Basketball Association and Women’s National Basketball Association games. It’s so successful that it had reached landmark sales of $1 billion amid major crypto dips.
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James’ NFT
The NBA Top Shot was able to sell a LeBron moment for nearly $400,000, so it is no surprise that the basketball legend chose to release his own NFTs. LeBron has filed trademarks for ‘Lebron James’, ‘Lebron’, ‘Chosen1’, and ‘King James’ to leverage them for his own NFT offerings.
Leading Indian Premier League’s sports franchise loyalty program
IPL teams offer fan tokens that provide owners with special club privileges, including voting rights, exclusive merchandise, and rewards. These digital assets can even provide VIP access to major events.
NFT for music stars’ fans
More and more bands and pop stars are creating quite a stir in the NFT world.
The Weeknd’s first NFT
The Weeknd used NFT technology to release new music in 2021 and raised $2.29 million. Just one token for a full song brought the artist $490,000.
Kings of Leon
One of the first musicians to release their records as NFTs, Kings of Leon bagged more than $2 million in sales. The 2021 album comes with exclusive album artwork, ‘Golden Eye’ vinyl, and for six bidders four front-row seats to one show of every tour the band takes (for life!).
3LAU’s NFT marketplace, Royal, allows fans to take ownership of a song’s copyright. Since launching the platform in the second half of 2021, the startup has secured $55 million in funding.
Ja Rule and his Fyre Festival logo oil painting
Ja Rule had an oil painting of the Fyre Festival hanging on the office wall during the event’s planning stages. Wanting to get rid of a reminder of the festival flop, Ja Rule sold the art piece in NFT format and got $122,000 for it.
Eminem sold his first Shady Con NFT collection
Eminem made $1.78 million from selling his Shady Con NFTs. The collection featured instrumental beats and digital action figures based on famous characters from his music videos.
Whitney Houston’s unreleased track
Whitney Houston’s unreleased recording from when she was only 17 sold for $1 million at an NFT auction. It was part of a collection that included videos and images, all amounting to $1.1 million in total sales.
NFTs for artists’ fans
Artists have been disrupting the scene with their coveted artwork. Once again here, NFTs eliminate middlemen and galleries and might even outperform the conventional art auctions in terms of sales.
‘People Disappear Here’ by Halsey
Halsey is as talented in painting and illustration as she is in singing and songwriting. She’s banking on her abilities with an NFT series called ‘People Disappear Here’. The collection turns the characters from the original painting into animations, complete with an eerie soundtrack that matches their nightmare theme.
Danielle Weber as an NFT enthusiast & creative
Danielle Weber is a Melbourne-based artist who loves to advocate for the merits of NFTs, particularly the way they bring artists and fans closer together. She lauds the mutually beneficial dynamic where fans gain an avenue to connect with their favorite artist while the artist feels motivated to create more works.
NFT for entertainment fans
And of course, comics and film nerds are carving their own place in the NFT world.
DC Comics and collectible NFTs of all the iconic Batman cowls
DC Comics is taking the NFT world by storm with the sale of 200,000 3D-rendered Bat Cowl NFTs. With each token priced at $300, the collection could easily rake in $60 million.
Netflix’s NFT experiment with “Love, Death + Robots”
Netflix released NFTs that represent scenes from the popular science anthology series called ‘Love, Death, and Robots.’ Unlike other collections, this project puts more emphasis on gaining viewer data than it does on making money. And it appears to be succeeding, with pundits touting it as the future of TV ratings.
As you can see, NFT in fan engagement show a lot of promise. But how exactly can brands make the most of their potential? Let’s explore the implementation process.
How to implement NFTs in fan engagement
NFTs are all the rage. And no, it’s not just a trend that’s expected to go away soon. Coined social media 2.0, NFT marketplaces are becoming a crucial marketing channel for interacting with customers. That is, every brand must cultivate one if they are to stay ahead of the curve. And it’s not any different for celebrities who’d like to bank on their personal brand.
Companies would do well to build a marketplace that offers end-to-end support for NFT projects. This will enable businesses to run their NFT campaigns from concept to execution on a single platform. It also allows users to interact with their fans and foster a community that builds the hype around the NFTs.
So how do you ensure you’re building an NFT marketplace that’s bound for success? For starters, make sure it has the following features.
A storefront with flawless UX/UI
Don’t just sell functionality but also sell the right experience with UX/UI that makes the trading process seamless. Your platform must have an intuitive interface and the necessary features, including filters, listings management, and bidding functionality.
Bullet-proof smart contracts
You need smart contracts to ensure your NFTs are properly minted and that asset tokenization is flawlessly executed.
99.9% storefront availability and reliability
Build a reliable infrastructure that’s capable of handling myriad transactions, operations, and users without fail.
You must prioritize cybersecurity to shield your platform from all kinds of threats, both internal and external.
Intuitive crypto-native payment options
Make it easy for users to trade NFTs using cryptocurrencies. Your platform must also enable the use of traditional debit and credit cards.
Convenient B2B portal
More than just a platform for buying and selling NFTs, your marketplace should also facilitate the management of relationships with asset-owners.
Take responsibility for preventing money laundering. You can do your part by allowing transaction monitoring and the reporting of questionable transactions.
For smooth-sailing operations, your platform must integrate seamlessly with third-party software that automates internal processes, including customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP).
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty with an example illustrating how the development process goes.
How Unicsoft helped a client to put all those features to life
We’ll show you how Unicsoft, a company that’s well-known for providing NFT marketplace development services, brought the vision of SoccerCoin into reality.
SoccerCoin wanted to create an NFT platform that fosters close interactions between sports teams and their avid fans. It’s designed to create a win-win situation where sports clubs can build recurring revenue streams. At the same time, fans get the opportunity to take part in the decision-making processes and enjoy emotional moments with their favorite athletes and fellow fans.
Unicsoft started out with the Discovery phase to assess risks on the technical feasibility of the solution, define tokenomics, lay out appropriate architecture, and create web/mobile interfaces. Following a product development roadmap that commenced with a minimum viable product (MVP), Unicsoft has successfully rolled out the SoCo token, fan tokens, and smart ticketing. Users can use SoCo, the ecosystem’s native digital currency, to pay for purchases, trade NFTs, redeem loyalty rewards, and access polls, auctions, and other privileges.
To give clubs a tool to tokenize fan engagement by using tokens for votings, lotteries, polls, tickets, and more, we developed a Fan Token Launchpad. The next step was adding a workspace where clubs could manage their profiles, NFTs campaigns, fans’ communications, and see digital revenue statistics. We also added the following features for NFT management:
- Creating new NFTs through their minting in the blockchain
- Removing and modifying NFTs
- NFT collections management
- NFT packs management
- NFT campaigns management
- NFT ownership management
- NFT storefront statistics
The platform allows users to buy NFTs using their own BNB coins through integration with a Metamask wallet. After the NFT purchase, users get the confirmation via email. And, of course, there is a smart contract in place to define and manage the auction logic on the NFT platform.
Unicsoft will be proud to assist the client with their ambitious future goal — to develop a complete blockchain ecosystem for sports fans and enthusiasts.
Don’t allow issues to cloud engagement with fans
As with any development project, you’re bound to encounter hiccups when building your NFT marketplace. The rule of thumb is to stay on the safe side. And Unicsoft can help you do just that. We are well aware of the industry limitations and have devised ways to stay cautious while keeping our eye on the prize. And we’ll always be here to alert the client once the limitation becomes critical.
Users entrust us with their private keys, and we always go to extra lengths to encrypt and protect them from external threats.
User interface (UI)
To ensure fans are hooked, we come up with solutions that are intuitive and stylish.
User experience (UX)
We provide a user experience that’s meaningful and relevant to our users. Right now, we’re paying particular attention to animation, which is bound to make the platform a lot more engaging.
Users earn royalties when NFTs are sold in the same marketplace but not when the NFTs are withdrawn from a different platform. We’ve managed to find a workaround and are working on a solution that’s bound to attract more users.
With the right tech partner, you can overcome obstacles and enjoy a smooth-sailing journey toward the launch of your own NFT marketplace.
As you can see, there’s much to gain from leveraging the potential of NFTs in fan engagement, from solidified fan loyalty to amplified monetization. Besides this, NFTs take marketing campaigns to the next level, and companies that fail to catch up run the risk of losing their relevance.
It’s folly not to keep up with the times, especially when you can work with a tech partner that will guide you through the whole process of NFT marketplace development. Unicsoft, for one, has the requisite experience and expertise to ensure a well-planned and masterfully executed development process. Reach out to us to learn more about how the Unicsoft team can help you.