Will Cricket Embrace Digital Assets for Fans?

In the last couple of years, cryptocurrency companies have made significant investments in the field of sports. Along the way, major stadiums have changed their names, crypto marketplaces have signed sponsorship deals with leagues, and we’ve even seen some sports stars begin to request salaries in digital currency. As a result of all of this, sports fans are quickly becoming familiar with the world of cryptocurrencies (and relatedly, NFTs).

Concerning this growing fan interest specifically, one of the most innovative collaborations between cryptocurrency companies and sports teams of late has been the introduction of fan token digital assets. These are essentially crypto coins that fans purchase both as collectibles and in exchange for special benefits relating to the teams in question. Those who possess tokens, for example, can vote on things like what uniforms a team will wear on a given day; they may also gain exclusive options to access special merchandise or discounts.

Teams from all around the world and in a variety of sports and leagues have gotten in on the fan token concept. Naturally, the most sought-after coins have come from organisations followed by loyal fans from all over the world –– like the mixed martial arts league UFC, and the prestigious French football team Paris Saint-Germain. But we’ve also begun to see other organisations ranging from NBA teams in the U.S. to professional gaming groups in the eSports world getting in on the action.

With such a rapid growth, it has become only logical to wonder whether or not the sport of cricket –– so intensely beloved and followed in much of the world –– might also embrace fan tokens or a similar concept.

Already, Indian blockchain company Polygon has shown a strong interest in working with Indian sports teams. Additionally, Indian Premier League teams like Punjab Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore have already entered a partnership with a portal known for creating fan tokens for different sports (and eSports) teams.

What we know at this early stage is that where these tokens are established, fans are collectively spending a great deal of money on them. The success of individual fan tokens, however, depends heavily on how interesting the coinciding benefits for fans are. And naturally, these benefits can change drastically depending on the nature of the sport at hand. Some eSports teams, for example, make it possible for fans to play augmented reality games to earn more tokens. Some football teams accept fan votes on what captains’ armband messages should say.

The possibilities are endless, but maybe that’s why it has taken some time for Indian teams (and cricket more broadly) to embrace the concept. The benefits offered at launch have to be carefully designed to attract positive attention from the fans, and there’s always the chance of some pushback. Fans from older generations may feel less involved, and of course those who don’t trust or understand cryptocurrency may also feel isolated.

Nevertheless, this crypto concept appears to be big business for the sports world moving forward. Cricket teams may well find them in time to be innovative ways to generate revenue, perk up engagement, and strengthen their relationships with fans.

At this point, adoption feels nearly inevitable.

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