The National Hockey League (NHL) is no stranger to Web3. In July, the league debuted its non-fungible token platform ‘NHL Breakaway,’ a website featuring collectible video clips of highlights from the league’s top players.
Now the 2023 NHL champions, the Vegas Golden Knights, have announced a free NFT collection that will unlock exciting experiences for fans.
The NFTs were created in partnership with Theta Labs, a leading blockchain for video, entertainment, and artificial intelligence. According to the news, holders will have the chance to access to team events, exclusive memorabilia, and upcoming games. Other rewards could include the chance to attend a press conference, on-ice photo opportunities, and access to a VIP viewing lounge.
To acquire an NFT, fans must watch the team’s home games live, either in-person or online — although precisely how fans will pick up these NFTs at select home games has still not been revealed. It’s also not clear if the NFTs will be tradeable or ‘soulbound’ — tied to one fan indefinitely. However, the onboarding process looks like it’s aimed at attracting non-Web3 natives, and will not include the need for a crypto wallet.
Jerry Kowal, the Head of Content and NFTs at Theta Labs, said that holders will be able to win “autographed memorabilia such as sticks, pucks, jerseys, and much more.” In this sense, the NFTs would function like keys to a Web3 loyalty program — a move that’s become more common with businesses and sports leagues.
Co-founder and CEO of Theta Labs, Mitch Liu, said that the collaboration with the NHL’s top team for a new NFT strategy could transform the “very essence of fan interaction.” Kerry Bobolz, the President and CEO of Vegas Golden Knights, added that the partnership with Theta Labs will mark a “new chapter in bringing our fans closer to the team.”
NHL & Other Sports Leagues in Web3
The latest partnership between Theta Labs and the Vegas Golden Knights should be exciting for fans. After all, the NFTs are free and come with the chance to win exclusive rewards. But the NHL isn’t the only major sports league that is using NFTs and nascent technologies to connect directly with their fanbase.
Over the past few years, we’ve covered several leagues and teams investing their time and energy into the space. Here’s a review of some of the headlines from sports in Web3 in 2023:
- November. NHL Opens NFT Collectible Platform to Public
- September. ICC Takes Cricket Fans to Web3
- July. MVP Patrick Mahomes to Drop 15,000 NFTs in September
- July. U.S. Women‘s Golf Open Unveils Free ‘ArtBall‘ NFTs
- July. Credit Suisse Launches NFT Collection to Empower Women’s Soccer
- June. Exclusive Alexia Putellas NFT from WoW Sells for $300,000
- May. LeBron James Photographed Wearing Nike NFT Sneakers
NFTs and blockchain technology open a myriad of new roads for sports leagues, teams, and players to connect directly with their fans. For this reason, its unsurprising how bullish sports is on Web3. To learn more about how Web3 could change the world of sports, check out our most recent deep-dive, ‘How NFTs Are Revolutionizing Sports.’