Sports collectibles are a multi-billion dollar industry and a segment worth $370 billion globally and $5 billion just in the U.S. Now we’re just a couple of months away from this getting a lot bigger. Baseball’s joining the blockchain.
Major League Baseball (MLB), in cooperation with Lucid Sight, a blockchain gaming company, is gearing up to launch a crypto-based game that runs on the ethereum blockchain, and hopes to take advantage of this multi-billion-dollar opportunity.
And it’s not the first sport to hop on the blockchain. It follows in the footsteps of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, who announced last month that they will begin mining ether and donating the proceeds to a local charity.
The baseball foray, however, promises to be much bigger for blockchain, and much bigger opportunity for investors.
After all, MLB is a massive American brand with a huge following. The customer base is in the multi-millions. The only kink in this chain is that this season has suddenly witnessed an attendance low. In person attendance at the ballparks is headed to its lowest average in 15 years.
The big gamble is this: Will the MLB blockchain-based game bring youth out to the field, or will it just keep them tied to their computers?
MLB officials knew they wanted blockchain, but initially, they reportedly weren’t sure exactly how to harness its power for their needs. A variety of ideas were pitched, including accepting bitcoin payment for MLB products, which was eventually discarded.
Kenny Gersh, MLB’s executive VP of gaming and new business ventures told Yahoo Finance that attracting people to the games is one of the strategic goals of this initiative. Related: Iraq Unplugged: No Internet, No Protests, No Money
“Collecting items related to your team, engaging with your team in a new way…These will be event-based things , those moments in sports that happen that you want to remember and cherish, and have a sense that you were there, even if only digitally.”
While some may think this is just another “get-rich-quick scheme”, Gersh assures everyone it’s not, saying that the simple way to view the move is as a transfer of MLB’s collectibles to the digital world. The point is to move with the times and capture a younger, digitally savvy audience.
But it’s not just about the digitally savvy. The goal is to rope those in who aren’t necessarily plugged into what blockchain is. They’re hoping that a simple mobile app will make it accessible to even the digitally challenged.
And when it comes to blockchain-based chains, it’s all about ethereum—which is ground zero for this.
Will MLB be a success? Yes, if history repeats itself. Look at CryptoKitties. In this wildly popular blockchain game, people are buying and trading unique digital kittens, paying in ether. In fact, some $25 million in cryptocurrency is said to have been generated on this odd obsession.
Perhaps a more suitable comparison would be CryptoCelebrities, which involves the buying, selling and trading of celebrity cards with pictures of celebrities on them. The game launched in January and less than 24 hours later, more than $1 million in ether was trading ‘hands’. (Incidentally, the most expensive cards were Trump and Elon Musk).
If crypto kitties and celebrity pics can make it to digital stardom, surely baseball—the all-American pastime—can.
By Damir Kaletovic for Safehaven.com
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