World renowned football club Real Madrid will launch smart tickets as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Flow blockchain in partnership with software platform for fan engagement LAVA. In late September, the product was tested out in a game at Real Madrid’s stadium and will now be more widely available.
Real Madrid has over 600 million fans worldwide. Only a small fraction of these fans are close enough to attend a live game. And even then, LaLiga stadiums’ capacities are all capped at less than 100,000 seats. This provides an opportunity for initiatives that entertain the majority of fans who cannot attend a live game.
Until now, the engagement was limited to watching the game through streaming services. The smart ticket is looking to improve the experience of these fans by providing cryptocurrency rewards that can be used to access digital items designed specifically for the game.
This product has similarities to fan tokens because it can be exchanged for rewards. Designing a product that relates to that specific event rather than the brand more generally is essential to enhance the feeling of participation by fans.
“Leveraging NFTs, Real Madrid is giving our fans the opportunity to invest in themselves, collect exclusive digital items, and own a piece of the online world. It’s fundamentally game changing for the fan experience,” said Michael Sutherland, chief transformation officer at Real Madrid.
“Because they’re digital, NFTs give us the ability to create a whole new experience layer for fans who have limited abilities to connect with the club beyond watching a live match. In the future, NFTs will enable the club to connect with our fans where they are, online or offline.”
The use of Flow as a blockchain of choice might lead to future opportunities for Real Madrid in the NFT space. Flow was started by Dapper Labs, which is looking to expand its product portfolio beyond NBA Top Shot and already has a partnership to launch in-game moments for LaLiga soccer and the NFL.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid is not using smart tickets as a traceable and transparent alternative to ticketing, but many other event-organizing entities are starting to see the potential of blockchain in this area. English team West Bromwich Albion FC has a blockchain ticketing arrangement with SecuTix, Ticketmaster and Live Nation have partnered with digital ticketing service FanDragon Technologies, and UEFA trialed blockchain ticketing at Euro 2020.