Sports trading cards have always been popular with fans. They are also a real money-maker. In 2021, a 1952 Mickey Mantle card became the highest-selling sports card ever at $5.2 million.
Don’t worry, I also had to Google who that is. Baseball has fallen somewhat out of fashion (not that it was ever in fashion here in the UK) but the trading cards have remained popular with die-hard fans and there are very rare ones that are selling for incredibly large sums.
It's not only baseball either, it's other sports such as football, cricket, basketball etc and trading card games such as Pokemon and Yu-gi-oh.
But what does all this have to do with NFTs? Well, as the rise of trading cards is soaring, we predict that this trend is going to cross over into the gaming world. Pretty soon eSports players are going to be as well known as traditional sports athletes.
This is combined with the fact that trading card games are starting to increase online (think Pokemon cards but on your mobile) means that there is great potential for NFTs to flourish in this space.
Let us explain why.
NFTs are digital assets that cannot be replicated or destroyed. This removes one of the biggest problems that traditional trading cards face – counterfeits.
By having a digital asset that can easily be verified, users can purchase trading cards with confidence and it will be harder for scammers to make and sell forgeries of valuable and rare cards.
Sports fans have always enjoyed trading cards of their favourite players. This tradition from real-world sports that transitioned over to eSports. eSports fans are starting to demand digital cards for their favourite eSports players and teams.
For example, eSports teams can start making and distributing NFT trading cards for their players. They can create limited numbers to increase scarcity and distribute them both through auctions and competitions to give all fans a chance to own one.
It is not only eSports teams that can tap into NFTs as a way to create buzz around their team, loyalty among fans, and revenue, but traditional sports teams too. For example, on February 26, 2021, over 200,000 fans queued online for the opportunity to purchase one of 10,600 new virtual packs of those NBA Top Shot moments.
Trading card games are another way that NFTs will incorporate into digital gaming. If you had Pokemon and Yu-gi-oh card battles as a kid, take the same experience and transfer it to your mobile or other devices.
NFT-based trading card games are popular with players who enjoy role-playing or battling. Creating these trading card games presents the opportunity for players to both collect for ‘clout’ or to brag about having a specific rare card and to use those cards within games.
One of the issues with traditional trading cards is that often if you use them the condition worsens over time affecting value, but with digital assets, you don't have this problem so players can both enjoy using the card for a collector's purposes and a gamers purposes.
NFT trading cards have the chance for all kinds of brands – but especially eSports brands – to enhance their relationships with fans/customers. NFT trading cards can be used to add to the fan or customer experience. Giving users the ability to acquire or purchase and display NFTs of their team or affiliation to your brand can help improve customer or fan loyalty.
In addition, you can give fans or customers the chance to contribute to decisions around your brand. A great example of this is that some of Japan's football clubs are using fan tokens in the form of NFTs to allow fans to make the choice of player of the month for the team.
NFTs are showing they have endless potential in the gaming world. Trading cards are only one way that eSports and other brands can utilise this technology to enhance the experience for customers and generate revenue. If your team is not already investing in NFT technology to make ideas like digital trading cards easy to create and distribute, you should get on that now.
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