HomeFree ArticleExclusive: Where Does The True Value Lie In NFTs?

Exclusive: Where Does The True Value Lie In NFTs?

Exclusive: Where Does The True Value Lie In NFTs?

In an interview with Ministry of Sport, Pickstar chief growth officer, Loren Renton, discussed the rise of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) partnerships in sport and the opportunity ahead for brands and rightsholders.

Founded in 2017 by two former AFL athletes, James Begley and Matthew Pavlich as an online marketplace connecting brands and rightsholders interested in athlete NFTs, Pickstar, have recently announced a number of new partnerships across Australia, the UK, and the US, including several AFL players such as Gary Ablett Jr., and English Premier League players such as Luke Shaw and Andy Robertson.

Discussing the growth of NFTs and the role Pickstar has played, Renton said the broad coverage across Australia, the US, and the UK has been exciting.

“Pickstar have rapidly moved into the NFT space over the last five months,” Renton told Ministry of Sport.

“We’ve helped broker club-based deals involving club NFTs, club fan tokens, which are a form of NFTs as well that provides utility for fans to engage with clubs.

“We’ve brokered close to 40 talent including Olympians, world-class cricketers, boxers, MMA fighters, kickboxers, EPL players, AFL footballers, NRL players, the list goes on, and we’re still just getting started.

“We’ve been super busy and we’re working around the clock with our team across the UK, US and Australia super excited at the opportunity ahead and we couldn’t be more bullish on how exciting this is for a number of reasons,” he said.

When asked about the value of NFTs in sport and the opportunities for rightsholders and brands, Renton said basic human nature reveals the opportunities in NFTs.

“Through my travels and dealings in this space, there’s a huge education component across probably 99% of all of the parties that we bring these opportunities to,” Renton said.

“Once they understand and grasp the concept, it’s a really attractive proposition for a number of reasons.

“One is it’s a new revenue model for them, it’s a new way to engage fans, superfans and members from a team level.

“From an athlete perspective, it’s a great way to build revenue in perpetuity because it’s baked into a smart contract, in blockchain…

“The biggest question that comes out from most people that aren’t informed in it is why would someone buy this?

“Where does the value lie?

“You go back to the habits of humans, we use to collect beads, shells, animal teeth, and our ancestors loved to collect things for self-expression and expressing their identity, then it evolved into currency, something that had worth.

“Fundamentally, when you look at it, it was something that was easy to exchange, yes you could fake some of it, but others were difficult to fake and therein lies the value.

“Once you explain it’s really unique and once it’s minted through blockchain and the digital ledger, it can’t be undone, and it then becomes an asset that will live on forever.

“You take a digital creation, and back in the day you could share things like an image or video or music file and there’s no value in that because someone would create it and then it would be as easy as downloading and sharing it, but now you can turn it into something unique that can’t be replicated and its stored and validated and verified on the digital contract so you can check the authenticity of it as well.

“It leaves behind a legacy of revenue and the legacy of a story, and the format of NFTs are probably one of the most exciting in the sense you can stitch in audio, photos, footage, and you can create digital artwork and representations of something, and the rightsholder or athlete can talk about it in the NFT and that becomes a personalised memory and something that means something to that athlete that can be bought,” he said.

Providing advice for brands is a priority for Pickstar, according to Renton, who said: “Right now there’s a really fair advantage for brands in the sense those who get into it now can and can understand what it’s going to be like in the next couple of years, are going to be the ones who really get in there as a land grab and build a significant amount of branding equity.”

“But also engagement with their audience and members, and also the ability to bring in significant recurring revenue.

“They need to move fast; they don’t know where to go in a lot of cases and what the right strategy is.

“The next problem you’ve got is how does a brand or creator connect with the world’s best talent and rightsholders.

“Within the Pickstar Group, we have another business called VLAST, which serves clubs and rightsholders with a software platform and technology that puts commercial opportunities for collaborations, ambassadorships, and activations, including NFTs and fan tokens in front of them in real time and helps them get to market sooner.

“The next thing for us is to capitalise on the fact we understand it, we can offer advice, but its more so spreading the word we’ve got access too.

“We’ve got access to tens of thousands of athletes across Australia, the UK and the US, and for us its about making that known that if someone does have a play they want to make in their space, they can connect very quickly.

“The leader in that at the moment, when I’m looking at that and the ones who’ve succeeded in that, is Sportemon Go.

“They have a very robust strategy around NFTs and digital products with an application that allows people to come in with gamified components, fantasy sports, NFT marketplaces and all of these involve the ability to win NFTs.

“We’ve always stuck true to what we do, and that’s connect anyone who has an opportunity with high-profile talent and rightsholders,” Renton told Ministry of Sport.

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