With the beginning of the internet in 1995, the Web 1.0 period began. It was followed around a decade later by Web 2.0, the era most of us are used to, where the likes of YouTube and social networking sites became readily available. The problem many perceive with these sites is that big corporations often control them rather than their users. Sports fans could access video content and use sites like Twitter to follow their sporting idols, but their ability to interact was restricted.

That’s where Web 3.0 steps in. It allows fans to have more real interactions, and users own a greater proportion of content. As the entrepreneur and Dragon’s Den investor Steven Bartlett has stated: “Web3 technology is disrupting sport.”

Web 3.0 (or Web3) is decentralized due to blockchain technology. Blockchains provide a level of security that, to date, no-one has been able to break. The space already boasts a trillion-dollar economy that is in the process of consuming the sports world. Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon are investing heavily in blockchain technology. In fact, Zuckerberg’s company changed its name to Meta this year to indicate its commitment to Web3.

The metaverse can be an incredibly immersive experience for users. As the price of accessing entry-level technology, such as the Oculus Quest 2 headset, is now as low as $300, Web3 is becoming affordable for most people. As a result, it seems inevitable this technology will enter the mainstream similarly to smartphones over the next few years.

Currently, in an evolutionary state, the metaverse can allow communities of sports fans to come together to interact. Various interactive games are also being created to provide immersive experiences attracting younger audiences. Sports-based businesses such as Adidas are also investing in Web3 and making considerable profits from related ventures.

NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are a unique asset that have been at the forefront of the Web3 transition, and a growing number of sporting stars are seeking to enter this lucrative market. Leading names such as Tiger Woods are finding rich rewards for embracing the technology—Woods’ golf venture has already broken the $1 billion mark.

Some figures in sports entering the Web3 space are motivated by their value as a status symbol, while others are interested for investment purposes or as a new form of revenue. A combination of all three could be contributing in most cases.

NFTs are also beginning to attach utilities (perks), which add to their appeal. Initially, these were small shares of profits, but, more recently, more elaborate advantages are being incorporated into projects, often making their utilities more valuable than the tokens themselves.

For example, 15 Love is launching a series of tennis NFTs during Wimbledon 2022. Its vision is to build a tennis community with a social forum, access to world-renowned tennis players, and an immersive tennis metaverse area, including a hall of fame, tennis stadiums, and other attractions.

“There is huge excitement amongst the tennis community as we enter the NFT space,” Sabrina Stocker, the former Apprentice star and co-founder of 15 Love, said. “Passionate fans drive sports forward, and we’re immensely proud that we are the first company to create a range of NFT collectibles for tennis fans, allowing owners exclusive access to metaverse tennis events.”

In 2021, NFT sales grew from $95 million a year to $25 billion, causing many to consider them as an addition to their investment portfolios. They are primarily purchased using Ethereum, a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin. Users can buy crypto using a credit card on platforms like Coinbase and need a digital wallet to store NFTs.

The leading site to purchase NFTs is OpenSea. The value of the NFT market has risen dramatically, and their investment returns have exceeded crypto and shares over the last few years. As a word of warning, they can fluctuate wildly in value, so they are best viewed as long-term investments with relatively small capital at stake.

It is uncertain exactly how NFTs will evolve as new concepts are introduced. But while the technology is still at an early stage, there are rich pickings if investors choose the right product. However, there is a relatively short window before their value stabilizes, so now could be a good time to consider them as an investment opportunity.

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By Maelyn

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