The metaverse is also booming in the world of sports


At the Sport & Brand Congress, organized by ESB Marketing Network, the focus was on new developments in the industry. The sports industry is evolving and relying on new funding options from the crypto world.

At the “Sport & Brand” industry meeting, around 400 interested people met more than 70 speakers, who provided insight into the sports industry with exciting presentations. Among the active athletes were Markus Salcher, paralympic athlete in alpine skiing and biathlete Simon Eder as speakers. They shared their successes and experiences in dealing with sponsors. Olympic cycling champion Anna Kiesenhofer went live from her training session to the plenary hall from the saddle.

Connected live: Olympic cycling champion Anna Kiesenhofer. Image: Gabriele Grießenböck

Sponsor strategies, new financing options for clubs and cooperation between athletes, brands and media were the focus of Austria’s largest sports business congress. In particular, conferences on new technologies such as NFTs, blockchain and the Metaverse – with their new possibilities for fan integration – ensured that the halls were full.

Because the sponsorship landscape has changed as a result of the pandemic, clubs, associations and athletes are looking for new ways to compensate for lost viewership revenue and create new experience opportunities. A new development is the Metaverse. The virtual parallel world offers brand new possibilities for sports rights holders and brands. It was agreed that new technologies are not trendy, but will soon be another way to retain fans.

Denis Horvat, co-CEO of Kickz.

Denis Horvat, co-CEO of Kickz. Image: Gabriele Grießenböck

“It’s important to be open about it. It’s better to try now than to regret later,” says Denis Horvat, co-CEO of online store Kickz, who gained first experience with NFTs and the Metaverse. According to Horvat, one should not make the mistake of thinking of NFTs as “quick money”. Rather, NFTs serve as a community-building tool.

During the congress, it was also discussed how the “blockchain hype” can be transformed into a healthy ecosystem in which fans, rights holders and sponsors can benefit in the long term. Fan collectibles, digital trading cards, or fans’ right to have a say in club decisions are just a few of the possible applications created by blockchain technology.

“Competitors abroad are much braver than the DACH region. In this country, people tend to wait for others’ mistakes and then act in a more stable environment,” says Alexander Schlicher, founder of the NFT platform Fansea. It is therefore important for sponsors and brands to adapt to new technologies now.

Around 400 people took part in the “Sport & Brand” seminar.

Around 400 people took part in the “Sport & Brand” seminar. Image: Gabriele Grießenböck

“We want to get as many people excited about the ADMIRAL Bundesliga and ADMIRAL 2nd Division experience as possible. Key to this is global communication. Months before our naming rights began, we sought dialogue with all contacts in the Bundesliga ecosystem and with our 1,500 colleagues at ADMIRAL Sportwetten, we told them about our plans and took them on this fantastic journey with us from the start,” explains Lorenz Kirchschlager of Admiral Sportwetten. (Stadionwelt, May 6, 2022)

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