The Sports Technology Annual Review Six Months on – Fan Engagement by Engage Digital Partners

sports technology annual review six months on–fan engagement by engage digital partnersJoin our community

Engage’s contribution to The Sport Technology Review came just before Facebook’s announcement around changing to Meta, which was a nice re-enforcement of the content we had written!

So, what has changed since? Crypto has been on a tumultuous rollercoaster, NFT stars shone brightly; and TikTok has shown just how quickly a new platform can capture the public’s imagination.

Taking these as key pointers, here’s what we’ve done, seen and think based on the last six months:

Taking crypto as a proxy for blockchain we now have a better understanding of what this is – and isn’t. The backend for digital transactions and NFT fulfilment is developing and evolving as we speak. To that end, we’re launching our first blockchain-based, owned and operated channel in Q3 ’22 in order to help our clients appreciate and leverage this area better. Being able to calculate long-term investment, navigate Smart Contracts, and understand governance and the potential of NFTs is vital. Done properly, IP owners and fans can be well rewarded.

Since November, when The Review was published, we have worked on client NFT projects in Racing, Cricket and Soccer. NFTs have gone through their first cycle and their application as a tool for couponing and creating fan loyalty is clear to see. But, with a concentration of ownership amongst a very tight demographic, we are someway off an inflection point. Mobile remains the best path to mass adoption so expect to see more experiences via mobile for NFTs over the next year. Like the evolution of phone apps, NFT’s will leap from novelty and/or investment, to something that is useful and of tangible value on a mass scale. 

Without doubt some of the ‘darling technologies’ of the pandemic are struggling in a recessionary and lower-liquidity environment. TikTok is not, ditto Reels and YouTubeShorts, largely as they are free at the point of use. Through our work on major tournaments, we’ve witnessed TikTok deliver more fan engagements than all other mainstream platforms combined. Our key assertion six months ago was that the future would be one where ‘digital communities are based around creators and shared ownership’. These channels are one small but significant step towards platforms that are either creator-led or directly compensate the creator financially.  

So, this is where we go full circle; the building blocks are in place, success is evident but, as yet, not all the dots have fully joined up. However, it will not take too many seminal moments for usable versions of Smart Contracts to converge with transferable blockchain-based currencies for something of real value to emerge. At that point we have lift-off.

Undoubtedly, once The 2022 Review hits the press, we will have an even better view of what Web3 will become, and how community will drive new economic value in our sector.