When we think of Sports and the Blockchain, there are numerous applications that are slowly beginning to be put in place, primarily on the professional level. We’ll likely see the technology put to use in merchandising and memorabilia sales, in smart contracts for players, and even in how people pay for the sports they watch and the sports journalism they consume. But might we also see the blockchain applied to something as straightforward as game access for college students? And might that in turn help to expose more young people to the benefits and convenience of this technology?
This idea comes specifically from an article that was published by IBM earlier this year, titled, “How Kansas Basketball Can Pioneer A Blockchain Use Case.” The article was in large part a hypothetical, written by one Jackson Schradd of the Blockchain Institute at the University of Kansas. Schradd discussed the difficulty of explaining blockchain’s value to average retail consumers and the “absence of a local application to point to” as he runs the Blockchain Institute at his school. And to solve that problem, he points to one of the most popular activities at the University of Kansas: watching live basketball.
“Having a real-world app would provide a clear example of blockchain technology and distinguish we are not the ‘Bitcoin club’,” Schradd posits.
Said real-world app as he imagines it would essentially leverage digital identities to ensure that all tickets available to students at Kansas basketball games would in fact go to students. There would be no one who shouldn’t be in the student section sitting there (a problem lots of top college sports programs continually face), and in the meantime, students would get used to the idea of securing their access to games via the near-instantaneous transfers enabled by blockchain.
If put into practice, this would certainly make for an interesting use case. But it could also spark a trend among other major college sports programs. Per the current, Kansas is expected to be one of the top teams of the 2019-20 season, which seems to be the case most every year. The Jayhawks have established themselves as one of the preeminent programs in the country, and as such have some of the most regular and enthusiastic student and fan participation in the NCAA. This essentially sets the school up to be a trendsetter even with something like ticket sale methods.
That is to say, if blockchain-based ticket distribution were to work among students at Kansas, might other top basketball programs like Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan State, and Duke give it a shot? Might big college football schools like Ohio State, Alabama, Oklahoma, and LSU then take notice as well?
The most fascinating aspect of DLT technology is its diversity & applicability. In the sports industry alone, it has the potential to strengthen the integrity of merchandise and counterfeit goods, change the way we view digital media. We of course can’t answer these questions now, or in any exact way. But interestingly enough, this could ultimately represent a means of exposing tens of thousands of college students around the United States to the benefits and convenience of blockchain technology.