Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have revolutionized the Fintech industry over the last decade. However, the innovative technology is now reshaping the future of sports in a great way. Blockchain is useful in tracking athletes’ performance, enhancing fun engagement, and aiding anti-doping efforts. Just recently, Benfica soccer club became the first European soccer club to embrace cryptocurrency payments.
S.L. Benfica announced a partnership with the UTRUST payment platform in a bid to provide its fans with an alternative payment method. The most popular club in Portugal will now allow fans to buy its merchandise with cryptocurrency. Moreover, fans will pay with the UTRUST token (UTK) and other popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. According to the club’s management, the decision to adopt cryptocurrency payments is based on the imminent need to improve their e-commerce strategy and expand their global fan base. Currently, Benfica boasts a fan base of 14 million and is considered the most decorated club in Portugal. By improving user experience and appealing to crypto holders, the club hopes to expand its audience across the globe.
According to S.L. Benfica President, Domingos Soares, the fan base is the key consideration in their decision to adopt the new payment method. Many football supporters are tech-savvy, and Benfica plans to be ahead of the curve in adopting new technologies. That way, the club can offer the best online experience for fans distributed across the world.
Through crypto payments, football clubs can eliminate common issues with credit card payments, like fraudulent payments and chargebacks. Additionally, the club can transfer payments to their bank account in fiat currency. They can do that immediately fans make a purchase on the online store.
Benfica’s partnership with UTRUST is a step forward in the efforts to provide financial services within the blockchain community. According to UTRUST CEO, Nuno Correia, the partnership marks a major milestone for the company and the entire crypto community. Interestingly, football is one of the most welcoming sports for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Currently, Benfica is leading the way for top football teams across the globe.
How blockchain enhances fan engagement
Using cryptos to purchase sports merchandise and match day tickets is not the only blockchain use case. The sports industry can utilize blockchain technology to enhance fan engagement. Actually, fans are the key to sports monetization. Moreover, fans who watch games on TV and other digital platforms spend money on various merchandise. They also boost advertising revenues and TV rights.
Sports clubs can create their own virtual coins/currencies that fans can use to purchase merchandise, food, beverages, and tickets to matches. This improves operational efficiency, which means more profit to the club. Moreover, it makes peer-to-peer ticket exchange possible. This can be a popular solution for fans as it enables them to administer ticket resale between themselves. It is a great way to deal with issues of fake tickets that affects many football clubs.
Other sectors and organizations are exploring loyalty schemes that run on blockchain technology. Sporting clubs could equally benefit from this approach by engaging all fans across the world.
Blockchain performance metrics and statistics
The sports industry generates a massive amount of data. However, sports clubs are yet to utilize the data to its full potential. Clubs can greatly benefit from athletes’ performance metrics by crafting effective training and coaching plans. This helps sportspersons attain better results by getting insights into their abilities.
Blockchain, in its very nature, provides a reliable data bank. It can host a massive amount of data and biometric measurements gathered from trusted sources. Users can then log the data directly into ledgers. BraveLog is a good example of a blockchain data bank that was launched in January 2017. It has strong support from Microsoft Azure platform and creates immutable records of biometric and race data.
You can directly add data like biometric measurements, race metrics, and pulse rates to a device and verify its credibility. That way, sportspersons can clearly understand their abilities. Coaches can also handle their personal training plans more effectively through big data analytics.
Blockchain for anti-doping
The sports industry has faced many challenges when it comes to doping. Over the last couple of years, several scandals have surfaced in relation to the usage of banned substances. From zone level tournaments to Olympic competitions, the abuse of banned substances is on the rise. If not checked, the trend can lead to a huge drop in the standards and quality of sports activities.
Blockchain technology can provide protection to files related to anti-doping and also help to resolve integrity issues. It can stop sports federations from manipulating any records. A proper system with a firm structure for recording every prescription and test result is the solution to all scandals. With blockchain technology, any data entered in the system is checked with the current protocol and made immutable. This makes it difficult for anyone to alter or tamper with the updated record.
Players could be paid in cryptocurrencies
The application of cryptocurrencies does not stop with the purchase of sports franchises and tickets. Clubs can soon begin to pay their players in cryptos like Bitcoin. Alternatively, clubs could create their own cryptocurrencies. If sports federations run leagues on the blockchain, it would be smoother to manage player transitions. In the event of a player being traded from one team to another, the blockchain technology could seamlessly facilitate the transfer of player information and fees via smart contract.
Ultimately, smart contracts could effectively replace paper contracts in professional sports. That ensures that clubs remunerate players efficiently and conveniently. Moreover, a smart contract can ensure that a player gets bonuses if a clause within the contract is met.
Blockchain technology has a huge potential in the sports industry, and Benfica football club is scaling the heights for other teams to emulate. In the near future, many more sports clubs could adopt the technology to realize its full potential. Any club looking to stay ahead of the game should embrace the innovative opportunities that blockchain has to offer.