Blockchain is best-known as the technology that underpins digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. While it’s a highly complex and sophisticated technology, in the simplest terms, blockchain can be described as a decentralized store of encrypted data, or a “digital ledger,” often used to securely process and track transactions.
While its most popular use to date has been with so-called “cryptocurrencies,” the technology is also being studied and developed for use in a wide array of other applications, spanning across many varied sectors, including government, the legal industry, real estate and even healthcare.
There have also been a number of recent developments in the sports industry indicating that blockchain could be used for a variety of applications, from verifying the authenticity of major event tickets to giving fans new ways to engage with their favourite teams and players.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in sports management and want to know more about why blockchain could be on the rise, here’s a quick overview.
Blockchain Could Allow Fans to Invest Early in Promising Athletes
Young, aspiring athletes face a number of hurdles when trying to make it into the big-time, not least of which is the financial challenge of paying for high-quality training while on a modest income. This is the problem that start-ups like Globatalent and SportyCo have taken on, using blockchain to create a potential solution. These start-ups plan to allow fans to “invest” in young, up-and-coming athletes by purchasing tokens secured through a digital blockchain-based currency. Through this initial sale, the athletes can raise funds for their training, offering investors a specified percentage of future earnings in exchange.
Geneva Business School’s Sports Management students learn about blockchain in their 2nd semester
Smart Contracts Using Blockchain Could Add a Layer of Security
Another use that should be of interest to those considering a sports management degree can be seen in the development of smart contracts. These are digital contracts that are stored and replicated across the blockchain, without requiring a third-party “middleman.” These contracts can also be designed to automatically execute – whether that means delivering a product or transferring funds – once certain agreed-upon conditions are met. While this technology has a long way to go before it becomes a standard in the industry, it could help provide an important extra level of security for contractual relations and protect against possible disputes.
Blockchain Could Play a Role in Preventing Ticket Fraud
Ticket fraud is a serious issue in major-league sports. Fans purchasing their tickets from resellers and online outlets often have no way of verifying that the tickets are legitimate until they’ve already paid – by which time, it’s often too late to do anything. Blockchain has also been explored as a solution to this issue. The technology could allow for the creation of a shared, decentralized, totally secure digital ledger of who owns tickets, allowing ticket buyers to verify the legitimacy of tickets being offered by resellers and other third parties.
GBS’ Sports Management students develop a valuable understanding of cryptocurrencies and fintech
Professionals in Sports Management Careers Could Use Blockchain to Engage Fans
As those in sports management careers already know, social media has had an outsized impact on how fans are able to relate to their favourite sports, leagues and stars. Blockchain technology, however, could take fan engagement even farther, with sports clubs using blockchain to manage loyalty programs, and even to create their own virtual currencies. These currencies could be used to reward engaged fans, who could then spend it on tickets, merchandise or other perks.
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