The broadcast for the Coppa Italia final between Juventus and Atalanta on Wednesday will likely feature references to the world of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), which could prove disorienting for many fans.
After all, the rapid popularity increase for tradeable online football items is a relatively new phenomenon still not widely understood. But leagues and individual clubs view the growing industry as a possible revenue model - and they are willing to risk short-term confusion in order to hook younger fans.
Seven NFT items related to the Italian final will be released online on May 22. They will aim to capture memories from the match in a virtual setting and should provide a financial windfall for the people who acquire them.
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How do NFTs relate to the Coppa Italia final?
Lega Serie A has agreed to make the website Crypto.com (where the NFT set will be traded this weekend) the official sponsor of the Coppa Italia final, writing in a press release that the governing body “aims to expand its target audience” with the move.
The seven unique Coppa Italia tokens will take the following forms (as first reported by SportBusiness):
- Original Trophy – a rotating 3D model with dedicated graphic
- Artistic Trophy – a unique version of the cup, re-imagined by contemporary Italian artist Diego Perrone
- Rotating 3D medals
- Three video highlights of the match
- Trophy ceremony
Once released, fans can buy and sell the digital items through the Crypo.com exchange.
Wondering why this is a big deal? An Aston Martin licensed NFT drop last month sold tokens worth well over €2 million, and this event could reach similarly staggering heights.
What does Lega Serie A gain from this?
Expect this to be just the beginning of the infiltration of NFTs into European football competitions.
Lega Serie A is promoting the digital Coppa Italia tokens as a trial run for a wider rollout. Not only does the governing body see potential revenue from related licensing agreements, but there is also hope the endeavour can improve young fan engagement in general.
There have been clear indicators of late that football powerbrokers are growing concerned about waning interest from the next generation of supporters. As Super League head Florentino Perez bluntly put it last month before his project fell apart: "Young people are no longer interested in football. They have other platforms on which to distract themselves."
Perhaps NFTs can provide part of the answer.