Written by Savaram Ravindra
With all the advancements in blockchain, it is amazing to see various industries making use of it. Blockchain is a buzzword in various industries, take, for example, the financial industry. But, can an industry like sports take advantage of the blockchain technology? The answer is ‘Yes.’
According to recent news, a London-based micro-financing tech start-up company known as SportyCo is incorporating blockchain technology for supporting its clients. It has launched the SportyCo Professional Fund and the Smart Manager Platform.
These will enable complex smart investment contracts, various types of detailed sponsorship smart contracts as well as donations where another sports organization, a club, or an athlete will provide a deal for a long period of time for a share of other stream of revenue or the future income in exchange for a capital investment ahead of time.
This will provide the capability to address many issues related to liquidity present in today’s sports industry. As stated by SportyCo, it has received endorsements from various professional footballers with high-profile, such as Ronaldinho.
Before we go any further, let’s take a look at what actually is blockchain technology.
What is Blockchain?
The blockchain is an open, distributed ledger of digital transactions that get efficiently recorded in a permanent and verifiable way. Blockchain stores the information blocks that are identical throughout its network. So, it can’t be controlled by a single entity and has no single point of failure.
Transparency is maintained for the data that is embedded within the network as it is made public without revealing the identities of persons who has sent and received it. Blockchain is incorruptible because if you need to alter any information unit on blockchain, you must use a large amount of computing power for overriding the complete network. This may seem possible in theory but it is unlikely to happen in practice.
With its amazing features, blockchain has the potential to disrupt the sports industry. The potential opportunities for blockchain in sports sector include anti-doping, cultivation and utilization of big data, fan engagement, and so on. Let’s dig deeper into each one of them.
In recent years, many scandals have broken regarding this subject. During the Rio Olympics held in the year 2016, the Russian hackers leaked several medical files of U.S athletes which claiming the evidence of doping by them. This included several top-performing and highly regarded athletes.
The blockchain technology provides us with an opportunity not only to safeguard these files from being leaked to the public but also for the fairness in the world of sports making sure the federations do not manipulate data for hiding doping cases.
With the help of blockchain, a more structured system for recording test results and prescriptions can be contemplated as the answer. This is because once the data is present in the system, it will be checked for its accuracy in accordance with the preset protocols before being definitely logged into the blockchain and making it impossible to change.
Businesses need customers to make money. Fans are needed to monetise sports. Fans who watch games on television and various other platforms, spend money on merchandise, and buy tickets to matches, will boost advertising revenues and TV rights.
Sports clubs have embraced the utilization of social media for harnessing the engagement of fans, but blockchain technology could take this one step ahead. Sports clubs can introduce their own virtual tokens/currencies specific to the club which the fans could spend on merchandise, tickets, and food and beverages at matches.
This leads to operational efficiencies which means more profit for the clubs. The system could enable peer-to-peer ticket exchange which can be popular among fans and enable the ticket re-sales market to be fairly administered between fans and clubs as well as avoid dealing with fake-ticket market.
Loyalty schemes run by blockchain are being explored in other sectors and organizations and sporting clubs could also get benefited from this technology to engage fans all over the world.
Performance Metrics and Statistics
The sports world produces a massive amount of data which is yet to be utilized to its full potential. The athletes’ performance metrics can be incredibly beneficial for setting up of training and coaching plans. They help sportspersons attain better results by understanding their abilities.
Blockchain serves as a reliable data bank of race data gathered from trusted sources and biometric measurements and logged directly into ledgers. For example, BraveLog was launched in January, 2017 with strong support from Microsoft Azure platform. It creates a credible and an immutable record of biometric and race data.
Data like biometric measurements, pulse rates, and race metrics can be added directly to the database from devices and verified as credible. The idea behind this is to enable the sportspersons to clearly understand their abilities and coaches to handle personal training plans effectively with the help of big data.
Management of Sports Broadcasting Rights
You may be knowing that sports broadcasting rights are a huge business these days. As per reports, BT paid £1.18bn for renewing its exclusive broadcasting rights for the Europa League and the Champions League.
As our viewing habits are being changed every day with the advent of new technologies, the rights market is getting increasingly divided. Fans are digesting live streams over social media and clip-form content on their smartphones along with traditional TV viewing.
The rights holders can make use of blockchain networks for tracking rights they have licensed so that they can identify the unexploited rights and also utilize the blockchain network to enable automatic rights payments through smart contracts.
Such is the significance of blockchain technology and its potential opportunities in the sports industry. In the future, the blockchain opportunities for the sporting world look promising though it is yet to reach its full potential. Those who want to stay ahead of the game in the sporting world should embrace the innovative opportunities blockchain has to offer. Thanks to the efforts of several players mentioned above, the world can hope that blockchain will bring benefit to many crucial sectors and investors and start-ups will completely foster the potential of blockchain many sectors, including anti-doping, e-Sports, and sports investments fight. All the new technological innovations have left us thinking about the future. So, what’s next? Will the emerging technologies like Blockchain, AI, Machine Learning etc, continue to add more value and maintain the balance to this digital universe in the years to come?