Digital channel creates new revenue streams for leagues, new experiences for fans and transports teams into the metaverse and Web3
Zug, Switzerland (30 January 2023) – Authena AG, the premier provider of NFT (non fungible tokens) ownership certificates and “phygital” authentication has a solution for jersey shortages and counterfeiting of coveted team-branded merchandise. Authena Shield™ authenticates merchandise using end-to-end encrypted blockchain system and their newly-launched M3TA™, fresh from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, allows teams to issue NFTs to fans to be exchanged for merchandise with metaverse portability allowing them to wear gear both physically and virtually – the new “phygital” universe will revolutionize the sports industry.
“We just worked with the Euroleague Basketball Red Star team from Serbia,” says Matteo Panzavolta, founder and CEO of Authena. “They had a jersey shortage in October and with our solution, they were able to issue NFT jerseys as a pre-sales with authenticated digital certification to their fans for their home and away jerseys. This helped them to gauge demand and they sold out both collections at five times their original price at a recent Euro League game with Real Madrid. Through their NFTs, the fans had access to the VIP area during the last two games and other special events leading up to the exchange and were delighted to meet the players and finally receive their signed jerseys after the game.”
Sports teams can’t always predict if their teams will be on a winning streak or if a new star will result in certain player numbers being sold out. The U.S. NFL San Francisco 49ers’ 23-year-old rookie quarterback Brock Purdy quickly led their team on a winning streak, leaving the franchise sold out of his number 13 jersey in the last few weeks leading up to the playoffs.
“We saw the same thing during the World Cup with the Messi jerseys,” Panzavolta continues. “Adidas could not keep up with demand and when that happens the counterfeiters go into overdrive to satisfy demand. In both situations, issuing jersey “digital twin” NFTs would have given the 49ers and Argentina the opportunity to combat counterfeit products while also introducing their fans to the metaverse.”
Anti-counterfeiting is taken seriously by the sports industry, which loses an estimated $30 billion annually to fake merchandise sales, but holograms and QR codes can be easily copied and don’t have the authentication power that blockchain technology offers when combined with encrypted IoT devices.
Authena’s solution offers leagues and franchises the opportunity to stop the sale of counterfeit merchandise and expand revenue streams with NFT offerings which typically increase in value for coveted players or championship matches and title-winning merchandise. The digital and physical jerseys are connected via an NFC (near field communication) tag that is sewn onto each individual jersey which can be authenticated by the buyer with the tap of a smartphone.
This new digital channel allows teams to gauge interest in players, designs, and events without costly campaigns or inventory – demand can be synchronized with the offer and anything from exclusive content to tickets to VIP events can be attached to the offering, which can also be securely traded on the Open Sea market.
Crvena Zvezda, known worldwide by the translated name ‘Red Star’, was among the most-crowned teams in the former Yugoslavia. The club was founded in 1945 and already a year later started its domination by winning the first of 10 straight titles. BC Red Star is the only club in the world to have produced two members now in the Hall of Fame (Stanković and Nikolić) and four in the FIBA Hall of Fame (Stanković, Popović, Radomir Šaper, and Nikolić). The four of them have the highest Order of Merit from FIBA. Over the years Zvezda had the privilege of being guided by some of Europe’s coaching greats – including Aleksandar Nikolic, Ranko Zeravica and Svetislav Pesic – as well as developing some of Europe’s finest talents such as Zoran Slavnic, Dejan Tomasevic, Igor Rakocevic, Nemanja Bjelica and Predrag Stojakovic. That pedigree, not to mention the passionate support of a devoted fanbase, ensures that Zvezda will always present a challenge to any opponent.