While NFT sales may have “fallen off a cliff,” as Bloomberg described, there are many in both the financial and technology sectors who believe in the future of NFTs and the Web3 framework they’re built upon. Esports organizations, who must derive revenue from numerous sources (not just professional gaming tournaments), are increasingly looking towards NFTs for their wide-ranging utility and potential for fan engagement. Fnatic launched its own NFT-based subscription program in partnership with Crypto.com, and now Yesports has unveiled a B2B platform-as-a-service for customizable NFT memberships.
The Web3 firm, which describes itself as the “world’s largest Web3 esports engagement platform,” has been working with esports orgs to help them enter the metaverse. The news of a B2B platform for teams comes on the heels of Yesports raising $2.25 million in seed funding. “Web3 and the emerging metaverse allow for much greater fan participation, engagement, and ownership,” Yesports founder Sebastian Quinn said. “Yesports is the Web3 upgrade the esports sector has been waiting for and will serve as a portal for esports fans to participate in this new paradigm. We can’t wait to get building with teams all over the world.”
Yesports is enabling teams to offer three tiers (Gold, Platinum, and Diamond) and corresponding NFTs, minted on the Polygon Network blockchain, can be purchased from Yesports and are tradable on marketplaces like OpenSea. The membership tiers can be tied to team-specific perks, including interactions with team rosters, access to unique merch, and more. Thus far, Yesports says that it has signed 10 teams and players to its platform, including Talon Esports, Infinity, Renegades, Boom Esports, and more.
NFTs, in large part because of speculative investing, have gotten a bad rap in many circles, but with proper education (both for companies and consumers) and integration, they could become game changers for the industry.
As Quinn explained in an op-ed for VentureBeat, “When done well, utility NFTs can drive long-term engagement. When done poorly, these promotional releases consist of low-effort cash-ins… There need to be clear and direct benefits that users can see regarding holding these NFTs. For example, NFTs could be used to offer VIP access to physical or online events, allow discounts on tickets to events or merchandise, and even unlock exclusive content from the issuing team.”
According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, there’s quite a bit of synergy between esports and NFTs already. Whereas 25% of the US population either used to own or currently owns either an NFT or crypto, among esports viewers that rises to 36%. In addition, another 27% of esports viewers in the US state having an interest in NFTs and/or crypto but have yet to make their first purchase.
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