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Sports Illustrated Tickets (SI Tickets) today announced Box Office, a new NFT ticketing platform built on Polygon, an Ethereum scaling network. The move marks the storied sports media brand's entry into primary ticket sales alongside its SI Tickets secondary marketplace that launched in 2021.
Box Office is now part of SI Tickets, the online marketplace that resells tickets to major events across sports, concerts, and theater. SI Tickets is a division of the overall Sports Illustrated magazine and media brand.
Instead of catering to the biggest events in sports and music, Box Office welcomes ticket listings from smaller community events that typically might otherwise appear on ticketing sites such as Eventbrite or DICE.
“We're not here to compete against Ticketmaster, SeatGeek, or AXS. We're going after the self-service event market,” SI Tickets CEO David Lane told Decrypt.
“We’re trying to create the first mass-market adoption of NFT ticketing,” he continued, “so that everyone from a 15-year-old to a 90-year-old can buy their first NFT ticket without having to go through a crypto tutorial on blockchain, or have to get a wallet and understand any aspects of it.”
Box Office was built with Ethereum software studio ConsenSys.
Box Office’s NFT tickets will be found inside the SI Tickets mobile app. In addition to granting entry, event organizers can also equip tickets with content such as photo and video highlights, collectibles, personalized messages, promotional offers, and loyalty rewards to engage with fans. Content can be recorded and uploaded before, during, and after an event.
Tickets for an upcoming Texas youth football championship game—set to seat up to 2,000 fans—will be listed on Box Office, for example. In addition to youth sports, Box Office expects to list both free and paid tickets from partnered music venues, nightclubs, business conferences, private parties, fitness and yoga studios, comedy clubs, religious retreats, and charity organizers.
“As the global economy continues to recover from the pandemic, we expect that live events, concerts, and sporting events will regain their pre-pandemic popularity,” Johnna Powell, global co-head of ConsenSys NFT, said in a statement to Decrypt. “The combination of these factors suggests that consumer demand for NFT event ticketing will increase in the coming years.”
Lane claims SI’s Box Office has a 20% lower fee structure than Eventbrite. Fans can also transfer their tickets to NFT marketplaces and other secondary ticket platforms such as Vivid Seats, SeatGeek, and Stubhub to resell their Box Office NFT tickets.
Sports Illustrated is offering a 50-50 revenue split on resales with event organizers and performers, and will do so by tracking the on-chain data of Box Office transactions.
“You always get paid when your ticket sells, but you don't participate in the resale of that on the secondary market—but that's what changes here,” Lane said.
“We’re splitting 50-50 with our partners. They’re gonna get 50% of the resale revenue,” he added. “For the events that have resale value, this is one of the great advantages of NFT ticketing. That's why I really do believe that this will become the standard as we go forward.”
Users who purchase a ticket on Box Office will also receive a $10 bonus for buying tickets to any of the 250,000 major events listed on the SI Tickets secondary marketplace, whose A-list events will appear alongside Box Office events in the same app.
“Your event is going to be listed on our site next to the biggest sports, concerts, and theater events in the area,” Lane said. “[Organizers] are no longer relegated to a hyperlocal Eventbrite-type of landing page. You're literally alongside Taylor Swift, Billy Joel, and the Knicks. It gives great visibility to any event that wants to partner with us.”
The NFL has offered free virtual commemorative NFT ticket stubs on Ticketmaster since 2021 for fans who purchased traditional tickets to attend games, while MLB’s partnership with Candy Digital also includes commemorative NFT tickets. Ticketmaster introduced an Ethereum NFT token-gating feature in March for artists to give their NFT-holding fans early access to tickets.
“[Box Office] is really about mass adoption of NFT ticketing—not novelty, niche, limited quantity drops,” Lane said. “This is something that everybody can use. It's applicable to every type of event. We expect this is going to be the entry point for millions to be able to enter blockchain and get their first NFT ticket.”
Editor's note: This story was updated after publication to clarify that Sports Illustrated Tickets (SI Tickets) is a division of Sports Illustrated.