The Sports Fan's Guide to NFTs

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The sports fan's guide to NFTs introduces the basics of digital collectibles and how they can bring you closer to your favorite teams and athletes.
The sports fan's guide to NFTs introduces the basics of digital collectibles and how they can bring you closer to your favorite teams and athletes. / Albert Cesare / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Over the last year, NFTs have shown up everywhere, from one tennis player's elbow to your favorite NBA players' most posterizable moments. But for many, NFTs continue to be a difficult concept to grasp.

What Does NFT Stand For?

A "non-fungible token." This essentially means that it cannot be replaced with anything else.

What is an NFT?

An NFT is a unit of data stored on a blockchain that's often associated with digital goods like original digital artwork, photos, or videos. By comparison, it's like owning a 1-of-1 collectible, NFTs function as a digital analog.

How Can Sports Fans Get in the NFT Game?

NFTs have burst onto the sports scene, introducing fans to all new opportunities to keep up with their favorite athletes and teams. These collections have a fairly low barrier for entry, and making it easy to get in the game.

Some key collections include:

NBA Top Shot: Dapper Labs brings hoop fans closer to their favorite players and teams with officially licensed NBA and WNBA NFTs. Starting a Top Shot collection allows you to stack highlights of your favorite player.

Candy Digital: Fanatics, Galaxy Digital, and entrepreneur Gary Vee teamed up to bring American's past time to the blockchain, inking a long-term partnership with the MLB. Like NBA Top Shot, they have jointly built out a marketplace where fans can buy, sell, and trade official NFTs. Candy Digital is kicking off the 2022 season (albeit a bit late) with an all-new ICON Series.

NFL All Day: The team behind NBA Top Shot is also spearheading the Shield's move into Web3. NFL All Day was announced at the end of 2021 and gives fans the chance to collect their favorite moments. Earlier this month, Dapper Labs inked a deal with Patrick Mahomes, signaling exciting things to come for the young collection.

While the NHL doesn't have an official marketplace, it signed a deal with Upper Deck that sets the stage for a league-driven venture into the space, and many teams have set up their own marketplaces in the meantime.

Overall, we're just starting to scratch the surface of the use cases for NFTs. While the future hasn't fully revealed itself, NFTs will undoubtedly open up exciting new experiences for the modern day sports fan.

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