Traditional sports fans are typically not the ones engaging with your web3 projects. Make sure you’re catering to the right audience when building your project and define what your objectives are as this will inform every decision you take. Look long-term and into complementary industries to attract and engage new audiences that can help you drive growth.
It’s nearly the season of giving, so in the spirit of Christmas, I wanted to share with you all some of the headaches I’m finding when discussing web3 with sports organisations, and vice versa sports with web3 companies. A problem shared is a problem halved, right?
These headaches are all audience related in some way, shape or form, revolving around:
Onboarding said audience/fans
Monetising said audience/fans
So, let’s say sports organisation ‘X’ decides they want to launch digital collectibles, whether that be artwork, video moments or PFP’s. Whatever tickles their fancy.
From the get-go, you have headache number 1. What audience are you wanting to target with your project, and what’s your objective from it?
Are you looking to:
Further engage with your current audience?
Attract a new, crypto native audience?
This is vital to nail at the beginning as a one size fits all approach means neither your traditional fans or the new audience needs or expectations will be met.
A good example of having a clear goal is WAGMI United, the ‘internets team’ - they launched an NFT collection to attract a new, global audience to Crawley Town. The NFT gives holders access to exclusive events, merch, content etc, whilst creating completely new revenue streams for the club to use that was not there before.
With the general population still having no idea what web3 is (only 20% of Gen-Zers and 18% of millennials have heard of web3, which dwarfs the mere 11% of Gen-Xers and 8% of baby boomers), there is a still a large education gap that needs to be closed before this audience buys into the benefits of a web3 powered platform.
This leads onto headache number 2: onboarding people into web3.
From a web3 company perspective, scale and ecosystem is everything. Most organisations depend on bringing projects and numbers to their chain/platforms to make their business models sustainable. This is what makes sports such an attractive proposition as they can help take web3 into the mainstream. Remember this…
However, from a sporting perspective, enticing your traditional fanbase (that are typically not digital natives) to engage with a web3 proposition can prove tricky. We know that some fans' first experiences with web3 companies haven't exactly been positive, and as above, explaining the benefits of blockchain to the general public is a lengthy education process.
Considering that trade-off, if your aim is to onboard your traditional audience, then there has to be a sustained education process around wallet set-up, security, ownership of assets, utilities and much more, of which I haven’t necessarily seen to a great extent across the industry so far.
If your focus is to onboard a crypto audience into your ecosystem, then the WAGMI approach is smart. They have built their marketing/products around this global audience, and have taken the additional revenues generated to enhance areas that traditional fans are actually currently more interested in (stadium experiences, matchday squad etc).
That nicely leads me onto headache 3: monetising an audience (which of course is not exclusively a web3 headache!).
The exciting part of web3 is that the technology gives any organisation the tools and the opportunity to reimagine their processes and revenue models. My two cents is that with any web3 strategy, there has to be a happy median between creating new digital revenue streams (whether through creation of digital assets/inventory/virtual environments etc), and finding use cases for blockchain that will improve the efficiencies and profitability of current processes.
This balance is needed because traditional fan bases are reaching saturation point, with the cost of ticketing, merch, broadcast subscriptions etc. Add to this the macro financial environment and people having to choose what’s important to them, and what isn’t necessary, it’s not hard to see why projects with the intention of extracting more pounds and pence have not and will never work.
Now, this is where a free tier to begin onboarding your audience to the space and rewarding them for doing so becomes extremely interesting in my opinion. In the name of blue peter, here's a piece on this approach I made earlier.
So, by process of elimination, the audience to target if you’re looking to create new revenue? It’s of course the crypto audience.
Engaging with an audience that is already deeply rooted into the web3 space (that needs no onboarding/education), but has an interest in sports and collecting is an audience that should be focused on rather than a secondary thought.
Of course crypto audiences are not just in sports. They are also across gaming, fashion, art, music and many more complimentary industries. Cross-pollination to deliver authentic tailored experiences, content and products to the audiences in these industries will be a huge area for growth. Good examples to take note of are CoolCatsFC (OneFootball Labs x Animoca Brands x CoolCats) or NASCAR x Zed Run.
So, wrapping up:
Set your objectives/strategy early (is it engagement or revenue you want?)
Define what audience will help you achieve those objectives
Understand that audiences needs and expectations
Develop partnerships/products/experiences that meet those needs and expectations