May 13

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Tokenization & The Future of Fandom

David Millay

May 13, 2021

fandom, future of fandom, loyalty & rewards, tokenization

At EngageMint, we spend considerable time investigating the overlap of innovation and customer experience and how new technologies can be applied in college athletics. It’s a large reason why we’ve had multiple guests on Flip the Switch over the past several months to discuss non-fungible tokens (NFTs).  

 But NFTs only scratch the surface of what tokenization allows. 

Thomas Euler, CEO of Liquiditeam, released an op ed this week which included 10 tokenization use cases outside NFTs. 

We’re going to dive into all of the different applications across future publications but let’s focus on fan engagement and what a program could look like with tokenization.

Team A wants to start a new loyalty program. Fans can earn Team A tokens for active participation (going to games, watching videos, posting on social – Team A defines the criteria). Tokens then provide its holders with different privileges (discounted season tickets, exclusive access to merch drops, selecting songs at games). Fans are incentivized to grow their fandom, benefitting all Team A stakeholders in the process. 

Now you may be asking, how is that any different from a traditional rewards program? Great question. Here are three main ways:

  1. Smart contract functionality within tokens increases the possibility of trade-in benefits and removes the back-end accounting component (100 points = 1 t-shirt).
  2. Creates a resale market where fans can sell their tokens to other fans, providing opportunities to profit off good fan behavior.
  3. Traditional rewards programs are mostly transactional. Trade-in values need to be established up front (100 points = 1 t-shirt, 200 points = 1 hat, etc.). In a tokenized environment, you have more flexibility to adapt reward values throughout the program (i.e., add a new prize category). 

Who are the companies at the leading edge of these types of programs?

  • PointsVille has partnered with the Pittsburgh Pirates on a new program for season-ticket holders to earn and spend loyalty points, redeemable for merchandise and memorabilia. PointsVille has a digital wallet where users will be able to store points. 
  • Liquiditeam has its own product, a custom tokenized fan community for sports clubs, athletes, and others that allows users to connect and interact with other fans in innovative and collaborative ways.
  • Socios creates novel experiences for sports fans by allowing them to buy and trade FanTokens, essentially club-specific crypto tokens listed on exchanges allowing fans to participate in certain activities.

In five years, expect to see crypto-type rewards programs to become the norm among sports teams and college athletic programs. 

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David Millay

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