The National Football League (NFL) first experimented with giving away commemorative NFT ticket stubs to attendees of select live games last season, and now the league plans on bringing the initiative to significantly more games for the 2022 season.
Today, the NFL announced that it will offer NFT ticket stubs to attendees of more than 100 live regular season games during the 2022 season. As with last year, the NFT virtual commemorative ticket initiative is being held in partnership with events ticketing giant, Ticketmaster. Currently, 101 total games are listed for the promotion.
The NFL’s expanded NFT virtual commemorative ticket initiative will include every single first-week game, starting with the Buffalo Bills vs. the Los Angeles Rams on September 8 at SoFi Stadium. Additionally, each of the league’s 32 teams will offer NFT ticket stubs for at least three home games over the course of the season.
“We still are in the test-and-learn phase of all of these NFT explorations,” said Abby Desai, who works on the NFL’s Club Business Development team. “But we wanted to do something that all 32 clubs would be able to engage with and offer to their fans on a local level.”
The NFL offered virtual ticket NFT collectibles for 21 regular season games last season, along with 12 postseason games, the Pro Bowl, and the Super Bowl. All told, the league said that it distributed more than 500,000 total NFT ticket collectibles during the season.
This season’s virtual commemorative ticket NFTs will be minted on Flow, the same blockchain network used for the NFL All Day video collectibles platform. Last season’s NFT ticket stubs were minted on Polygon, an Ethereum sidechain, but the league and Ticketmaster switched to Flow starting with the Super Bowl.
An NFT works like a proof of ownership for an item, including digital goods like artwork and collectibles. The NFT market ballooned in 2021, yielding $25 billion worth of trading volume, and sports collectibles—including NBA Top Shot—helped introduce the premise of tokenized digital collectibles to mainstream audiences.
Fans value NFT-powered tickets
During last season’s promotion, the league offered a single NFT per Ticketmaster account that purchased tickets for an eligible game, regardless of how many tickets were purchased. This time around, Desai said, an NFT counterpart can be redeemed for each individual ticket.
Desai told Decrypt that the league saw “overwhelming engagement” around its NFT initiative last season, and that NFT stubs help fill the void when it comes to collectible keepsakes as the league has moved from physical tickets to mobile ticketing.
“It's something that we've seen,” she explained, “that fans do value having something that they can remember the experience of attending the event with.”
Virtual ticket stub holders can resell their NFTs on a Ticketmaster marketplace, and Desai said that the league saw secondary demand during the inaugural campaign. With almost five times the number of eligible regular season games this year, plus more NFTs offered for each game, Desai noted that the league will be “keeping an eye” on resale interest.
The NFL’s NFT stubs are digital keepsakes that can be held or sold, but a growing trend in the NFT space is to layer in utility—including access to exclusive benefits and events. Desai said that the league will “continue to explore” additional use cases, including the potential for further utility or perhaps even functional NFT-based ticketing (rather than collectible keepsakes).
“We're still early on, as is the entire industry here, and seeing what does work, what doesn't work, where clubs are leaning in, and where fans are leaning in,” she said. “We'll take those learnings to really determine what we're going to do down the road.”
Editor's note: This article was updated after publication to clarify that the NFL first began using Flow for its NFTs starting with the Super Bowl, not the NFL draft.