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There’s little doubt now that blockchain technology will change a number of industries, with all the hype around the technology. Sports might seem to be one of the unlikeliest industries to be disrupted by blockchain, yet it seems perfectly possible if you factor in the opportunities that blockchain presents to crowdfunding.
Blockchain offers an unprecedented level of transparency for transactions: you don’t need to rely on a middleman to make sure that a certain transaction took place and was processed correctly. This allows creating a decentralized system that makes crowdfunding easier. So much so that sports players, especially young athletes, will be able to boost their careers by getting public support – and their growing professionalism will in turn bring in more and more money.
TokenStars, the first project to tokenize athletes, aims to do exactly that: revolutionize the talent management system by using blockchain to decentralize it and facilitate support for young athletes, then share the value with the community.
“When you buy a token, you help to support an athlete; tokens can then be redeemed to get a share of their income, endorsements at a significant discount, training time, merchandise, tickets to events, and other goodies. This new approach has the potential to change the whole industry in just a decade,” says Pavel Stukolov, CEO of TokenStars.
There Will Be More Sports Stars
At the start of a career, a young athlete has lots of expenses and very modest funding (if any) to cover them. Until the age of 10, the now famous Mansour Bahrami could not afford to buy a tennis racket and had to use a frying pan instead. He succeeded despite this, but there are lots of young talents who are not so lucky.
“The more funding young athletes get, the more chances they have to improve their skills by gaining access to better equipment, a more qualified coach, a sports academy, and being able to travel to tournaments. This boosts their careers, enables them to get to a new level of professionalism, and face higher-ranked opponents,” says Elena Masolova, a TokenStars investor.
While traditional talent management agencies only have resources to find and fund a lucky few, the decentralized crowdfunding model makes it possible to raise more money and back more athletes.
Athletes Will Be Viewed As Assets
Much like companies that trade on a stock market, every athlete will issue her or his own cryptocurrency coins, which will be listed on a special coin market. The price of a coin will increase as the athlete makes progress.
There will be lots of factors influencing the coin price: a lucrative deal with a big brand will cause it to skyrocket, while a massive loss to a weaker opponent will make the coin slump. In addition to success in sports, there will be other ways for athletes to enhance their value, including a strong social media presence, charitable initiatives, sponsorship contracts, and licensing their name to a brand.
There can be different algorithms for listing an athlete on the coin market: it can be done automatically at some stage of career development (winning a championship, reaching a certain age or net worth), or voluntarily when an athlete decides to get listed.
Also, there is bound to be speculation, long-term and short-term investments, data mining and complex models to determine profitable strategies, and other features of the stock market.
Tokenization Will Fuel Interest in Sports
Now that bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies have received mainstream recognition, lots of people who previously had no interest in blockchain are following the news on the development of the technology. Once people realize that there is some kind of profit to be gained, the industry is bound to attract a new audience.
The same thing is going to happen to sports: as the sports cryptocurrency market gets bigger, there will be more and more people willing to invest. They will want to invest wisely, so they will follow sports news to get insights and predict cryptocurrency value fluctuations. Instead of the Financial Times, people will be looking through sports media and watching big events. The coin exchange rate will go up or down when there is news or even gossip about a new contract, a trauma, a marriage or a breakup with a celebrity, retirement, you name it. The growing audience will further boost the sports market.
The Gap Between the Sports Will Get Wider
Not all sports were created equal: this inequality will become even more obvious when sports players get listed.
If athletes are listed on the market, their revenues will be disclosed, and all the data on their prize money, endorsement contracts and other sources of revenue will be made available. Thus, anyone will be able to see how much money there is in a certain sport. Popular sports with a huge fan base (tennis, football, hockey, basketball) will see more demand, both from fans and from speculators.
From here, it looks like sports will be even more exciting to watch in a decade. In addition to the usual elation when your favorite player wins, you’ll feel the satisfaction of knowing that your freshly purchased coins just went up.