The premier basketball club KK Crvena zvezda Meridianbet, known worldwide by the translated name “Red Star”, in partnership with Adidas and Authena, launched in October 2022 a highly successful campaign to give fans the opportunity to own authentic, “phygital” jerseys of their favorite players. The campaign aimed to provide fans with an exclusive, authentic, and unique experience, while also generating a new revenue stream for the club.
“ We owe a lot of gratitude to Authena, as it recognized the work of our club and decided to start this new sports chapter with our club, and we also thank our partners from Adidas, who recognized the potential of the idea and decided to support us. ”
” Innovations and new technologies are an integral part of adidas’ strategy. That is why we were pleased to participate in this interesting and creative project. We were sure from the beginning that the result would be great, as Red Star and its fans had the opportunity to get authentic jerseys, both in the virtual world and physically.”
The club used Authena M3TA™ technology to create digital twins of the jerseys worn by the players during the first part of the 2022-23 season, which ended with the match played on December 30th with Barcelona. These digital twins, or NFTs, were made available for an exclusive pre-sale on the OpenSea platform, using cryptocurrency as a legitimate payment method. Each physical jersey has a unique and encrypted NFC tag (so-called physical digital seals), linking digital and physical assets together and allowing fans to verify the authenticity of the T-shirt by contactless reading of the tag itself with any modern smartphone.
The main challenge the club faced was to create a new revenue stream while building an international and engaged fans’ community to which it could offer an authentic and unique experience. The club also faced the challenge of ensuring the authenticity of the physical jerseys and making the purchasing process safe and convenient for fans.
“ This project aims to repay our fans for their support and loyalty, but also to enable something completely different and new” states Janko Stanković, marketing director of the Crvena zvezda basketball club. “For years, we have been trying to grant to our fans much more than just a sense of belonging to the club. We commit to improve their experience in the hall, but also outside it. This is why we decided to partner with Authena to take the most out of the Web3 revolution and provide our fans with an added value that is unprecedented in the world of sports”
To overcome these challenges, the club adopted Authena M3TA™, the blockchain-based technology that enabled the creation of digital twins of the jerseys worn by the players. This ensured the authenticity of the physical twin shirts and provided fans with a unique and authentic experience. With the support of Authena, the club put on sale 32 exclusive pieces, split in two collections (Home and Away) on the OpenSea platform. Cryptocurrency was used as the official payment method to make the purchasing process secure for fans.
The campaign was a huge success, as both the Home and Away collections were completely sold out. The high relevance of the project attracted scam attempts, for example, a copy of the Home collection was detected on Opensea, attempting to fraud fans. However, thanks to the security and reliability of Authena’s solution, the scam was promptly discovered and reported to the Opensea platform, which proceeded to take it down. This highlights the importance of using secure and reliable blockchain technology to authenticate phygital assets and protect fans from fraud.
Not only did this campaign provide fans with a unique and authentic experience, but it also brought the digital world closer to the growing community of fans, both inside and outside the country. The club was able to sell the jerseys for almost 10 times their normal value, safely and uniquely associating them to NFT ownership certificates and authenticity, guaranteed to fans unique privileges, and generated a completely new revenue stream for the club.
As a special bonus, the lucky fans who managed to snag one of the 32 exclusive phygital jerseys had the chance to attend the Euro League games against Monaco and Real Madrid in the VIP stands. There, at the end of the games, it was the basketball players themselves who signed and handed over the authentic physical jerseys to their respective NFT owners. This added an extra layer of excitement and exclusivity for Crvena Zvezda fans, as they were able to see their favorite players in action while also being able to hold the physical jersey they had purchased.
This successful campaign has set a precedent for other sports teams and organizations to follow, as it has shown how blockchain technology can be used to authenticate phygital assets and benefit sports clubs by generating new revenue streams for them and revolutionary engagement opportunities for the fans’ community.