NBA ‘discussed’ team sales of fan tokens, cryptocurrency, says Joe Tsai
In his interview with NetsDaily on Friday, Joe Tsai said the NBA had “discussed” the sale of fan tokens, a cryptocurrency, by teams that would create a new billion dollar revenue stream for the league. … And allow fans to acquire new privileges. and even play a role in even minor team decisions.
It’s all part of what Tsai thinks is the shift from a passive, media-driven model of fan engagement to an interactive model that would include Fan Tokens, NFTs, and of course, sports betting. Tsai also said he was following “closely but not directly” the progress of New York State’s sports betting plans.
“Another example of fan engagement is the use of cryptocurrencies to engage fans,” Tsai told NetsDaily. “We in the NBA now have the potential – it’s not approved – for teams to issue fan tokens. This has been discussed, has not been approved, but people in Europe have it. already done with football teams in Europe that issue fan tokens with attached privileges.
Although Fan Tokens may be a new idea in American sport, they have been a part of European football for several years. Tsai said last week that the total market value of fan tokens issued by European football teams was “around $ 3 billion”.
“You can consider ‘fan tokens’ as loyalty points that can entitle me to certain discounts, free beer and also ‘fan tokens’ have also become voting tickets because they allow you to cast your vote on a particular decision related to the team. . I think teams aren’t going to let fans become coaches – or general managers – but things like ‘should we be wearing our City Edition uniform? That’s a high engagement, right? With tokens, the beauty of these tokens is that they become tradeable. They are effectively cryptocurrencies and can be traded.
In Europe, fans with tokens can vote on things such as which players the football club will play in “friendlies” – the preseason exhibition games – and which players the club should target in the games. exchanges or free agencies. When it comes to pricing, tokens can cost as little as a few dollars and indeed, there are already active secondary markets. Fans are encouraged to accumulate them.
In fact, the process is already underway. A majority of NBA teams, including Brooklyn, have quietly signed with Socios.com, the leading supplier of tokens to European teams, including FC Barcelona, Juventus, Arsenal and Paris San Germain. The Nets announced their partnership with Socios earlier this month. So far, the partnership has been limited to integrating Socios.com on the team’s social channels and digital signage in all Nets home games.
The announcement made no mention of fan tokens other than that Socios “is targeting many more Fan Token launches in the United States, Asia and South America with major sporting properties in the world.” The announcement promised a “SociosSuite” at Barclays that will serve as a “fan-centric experience opportunity”, not described in more detail.
Tsai hasn’t set a timeline for the NBA to approve the fan token show, but sees it as part of an increasingly changing, interactive rather than passive fan experience.
“When you look at how fans are interacting with the content right now, with the game, a lot of it focuses on watching the game on TV. So it’s a game that lasts two and a half hours. It’s relatively passive, just watching on a couch, ”he told ND.
Sports betting, he predicted, will be a big part of it, depending on national and local laws.
“In the future, when you watch the game or consume the content on digital, the digital platform allows the fan to interact in different ways. you can bet on the digital platform. The bet itself is therefore a huge fan engagement tool. It allows the fan to get involved a lot, a lot more emotionally, as people tend to get more emotionally involved when the money is involved.
Bets will not only be on games, but as Mike Mazzeo from PlayNY wrote, expect to bet on things like Kevin Durant will make his next move! Tsai said despite the questions, the league is all-in on sports betting.
“So for all the potential risks and integrity traps and all that, I think overall the league and the teams are very positive about the future of sports betting, that it will bring a lot of economic benefits to the teams and the league. obviously. “
The benefit for the teams, he said, will come “indirectly”.
“The way we’re going to benefit is through marketing dollars and people willing to spend their marketing dollars on the Nets in order to have access to our fan base, people like Fanatics. All of these punters want access to our fanbase. And this is our economy.
He said he looked forward to a competitive market for this access.
“The more“ players ”there are in the market, the more competitive the field, the greater the marketing budget. We will therefore benefit indirectly from sports betting. So we would like more competition, more licenses. We would like more players.
As a result, he said the Nets, as an organization, track the New York State sports betting process. The state is considering various business license applications with the hope that two operators will be appointed at the end of the year with the aim of having the sports books in place and ready to go by the end of the year. year. super bowl February 13, the biggest day in sports betting.
“We follow it (the sports betting process) closely but not directly. We are not party to the license application. We know people who applied for the license, ”Tsai said, referring to the organization’s ties to Fanatics, one of the license applicants.
“So we are monitoring what is happening. Our “partnership” if you will, at this particular stage, is that we have submitted as an attorney’s brief, submitted a letter of support to the Fanatics group. Our conviction is that for a sports team like ours, we cannot be involved in a sport bets. There are all kinds of restrictions on this for obvious reasons. “
In general, he said, the fan experience shifts from a passive model to an interactive model, from a multimedia model to a transactional model.
“The bet itself is a transaction. When you buy a jersey it’s a transaction and other transactional variables are, to give you an example. if you play a NBA2K game, obviously it’s very interactive, but you can also make in-game transactions to buy a jersey, buy a bracelet or so I gave the example to Milken (Institute Global Conference) that 72% of the revenue from the game NBA2K come from microtransactions.
It’s unclear how far the brave new world of the fan experience will come to fruition. One controversial possibility is to install facial recognition cameras that would use biometrics to identify individual fans and match them, via databases, to their interests.
The Nets, he said, have not implemented facial recognition and that any widespread use would likely be in five to ten years. Other teams, other sites, he said, have already made the investment. “I’m told they have facial recognition at Madison Square Garden.”