The nonfungible token (NFT) market has greatly shaped the world as we know it, leaving no industry untouched, sports included. As a result, digital transformation has proven to be a major challenge, with teams experiencing a lack of in-house resources, minimal tactical support from experts and an inability to implement a strategy for multi-layered fan engagement.
To learn more about this industry and how a bridge can be built to the next generation of sports, Cointelegraph sat down with Vladimir Liulka, the CEO and co-founder at Blocksport, and Mladen Petric, a football legend and one of the project’s advisors.
When asked to introduce the project, CEO Vladimir shares, “We are big lovers of sports. We are fans, and we are innovators who are trying to make the sports world better.” The result was a “sports tech company focused on fun and engaging solutions, and innovative products which could help clubs, teams and professional athletes to actively engage and monetize their fans communities.” An effort that he shares is only possible through “digitization and tokenization.”
As a sports tech expert himself, Blocksport came into existence to address many of the concerns that Vladimir had noted were plaguing the industry today.
In looking at the traditional sports industry, the CEO begins by stating that “clubs, teams and others that make up the main stakeholders are not familiar with the digital agenda.” Although they recognize that their community is becoming younger and are no longer attending stadiums or watching TV, they “are a little bit scared” by what the future holds.
“The sports community is living in the virtual world, consuming virtual goods and seeking out new ways to be entertained.”
Unfortunately, clubs “don’t know how to respond,” and if they do, they do not have the capabilities to do so. Blocksport effectively fills this gap as a partner in the new digital era. A trend that is further catalyzed by pandemic and post-pandemic times where “[clubs] have lost a lot of spectators and therefore a lot of money.”
Three elements core to the ecosystem
As a strategic technology partner, Blocksport leverages NFTs, fan tokens and GameFi to help clubs, teams and athletes to engage new audiences, providing the necessary support for these ones to monetize these relationships.
Vladimir Liulka comments on this relationship by stating that “Blocksport decided to create a platform where NFTs, fan tokens and GameFi would meet.” However, unlike marketplaces like OpenSea, all releases are sports-focused.
In practice, the Blocksport team provides support in “end-to-end delivery of NFTs for partners and clubs, including an explanation of the value [they create], the strategy with a content delivery plan and promotion opportunities.”
However, NFTs are only one component of the platform. Positioned next to them is the fan token launchpad, a provision as Vladimir shares, “gives clubs direct control” alongside the ability to “integrate with their story” and share with “the real fans.”
More insights on Blocksport here
Tying it all together, Vladimir shares the third piece, GameFi, in allowing fans to “not just be the owner of an NFT from their favorite team or idol” but “allowing them to earn some money” through staking and participating in different NFT games. The ecosystem is said to run with the Blocksport token (BSPT), which will be listed towards the end of February on several centralized (CEXs) and decentralized exchanges (DEXs).
The CEO also mentions some insights on what is to come in the near future, “We are paying a lot of attention and investing our time and attention into GameFi components,” intending to “offer more NFT pools and games.”
The result will be that the clubs, teams and athletes can get even closer to their fans digitally.
Taking an athlete’s perspective
Looking at the project’s impact from the other side, Mladen Petric, a former Croatian football forward and striker, shares his personal experience as a professional athlete, “It’s a huge opportunity to stay in contact with your fans, even for former athletes like me, who retired almost six years ago.”
“It’s incredible how many fans are trying to contact me over social media and through other ways like letters.” Now, with Blocksport, “active and retired athletes can still have a community with their fans,” he adds.
Mladen goes on to share his admiration for Vladimir and the rest of the Blocksport team for their dedication and passion to improving the sports community.
It all comes down to community
With the rise of so many projects, several industries have seen an invigorated sense of community, and the sports industry has the potential to be one of them, especially with the concept of the metaverse.
With the metaverse being on Blocksport’s roadmap, Vladimir introduces the concept first by describing it as “a place where fans can interact directly with their favorite players or teams in real-time in a single digital space.”
The Blocksport team, which has been working on the foundation for two years, is now considering “that next level.” Vladimir paints the picture of attending a football game, where players can put on their VR glasses and be truly immersed in the experience. Here, they will gain a closer connection to the players, all while being at home in a comfy chair, beer in hand and VR glasses placed over their eyes.
Throughout 2022, the CEO shares that the company’s focus will be on educating the community about these opportunities for fan engagement and NTFs, in preparation for the metaverse experience.
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