Does it make any sense to award a trophy like the 'Ballon d'Or' in NFT as well?

Alexia Putellas
Font: Futbol Club Barcelona (Victor Salgado)

Luz Parrondo
Director of the Postgraduate in Blockchain and other DLT Technologies
Director of the Academic Department of Finance, Accounting and Control
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On 18 October, the Ballon d'Or 2022 award were presented by France Football, and the surprise was that, in addition to the physical trophy, the organisers gave the winners a small device containing the award as a NFT. That is, digitally represented as a Non-Fungible Token. 

Besides the physical trophy, France Football awarded the winners of the Ballon d'Or 2022 with a small device with the prize as a NFT

From this news, we wonder: why would it make sense to have the winner receive the trophy in NFT in addition to the physical trophy? And more to the point: why do we find ourselves faced with so much news linking football, or its players, to these digital assets?

Reaching football, publicity assured

France Football announced last month that this edition of the Ballon d'Or would be the perfect occasion to present the digital trophies in the hands of the best superstars of international football. There is no denying that the showcase is unbeatable, and the publicity is more than assured. 

The fact that a football player receives a trophy in digital format may seem anecdotal, but let's note that from now on, this trophy will be present on the Web3. It is therefore a digital asset registered in the environment responsible for managing and exchanging most of our properties in the very near future. However, this is not the most relevant thing, nor the reason why it has been given: the awarding of the trophy is presented as the most successful advertising campaign that opens the sale of a compendium of much more lucrative NFT. 

The awarding of the trophy as NFT is the most successful publicity campaign for these assets in an unbeatable showcase

The French newspaper L'Équipe, co-organiser of the awards, has announced that it will launch a collection of NFTs called "2022 Pyrite Fragments". These NFTs allow supporters and fans to get their hands on a digital portion of the trophy (the pyrite mineral from which the golden ball is made), as well as offering a range of rights and benefits of varying character and value. Here are a few examples: 

  • Right to vote to choose the artist who will design the next Ballon d'Or NFT
  • Voting rights on the next actions of the association on Web3
  • Exclusive benefits, such as jerseys signed by the players
  • Match tickets
  • Invitations to TV shows
  • Access to the Ballon d'Or award ceremony for the next 20 years

Certainly, these rights and benefits are not new and can be offered through a conventional website, in a physical shop or through alternatives channels to the NFT. Why then has there been so much interest in these digital assets?

After the hype, innovation

Like any technological innovation, NFT have a lot of hype around them: the expectation of something different, the seduction of being the first to own a novelty, the fear of missing out on a new paradigm... all this excitement is present. Of course, it is. But we must not forget that behind the hype lies innovation. 

NFT are not just the result of momentary euphoria: while there is certainly speculation and smoke around them, the technological improvement they bring is undeniable

This technology allows us to trade the usual (and then some) in a much more efficient way. It allows us to record and manage ownership of both tangible and intangible objects and transfer them in an immediate, convenient, distributed, secure and traceable way. It allows us to assign benefits and advantages that can be executed in an automated way with the help of Smart Contracts. And it gives us the possibility to confer ownership to objects that are difficult to register, such as a portion of a trophy, or a digital work (depending on how you look at it).

NFTs are not just the result of momentary euphoria. While there is certainly speculation and smoke around them, the technological improvement is undeniable. The qualitative leap in the commercialisation of any asset, including the asset of illusion, is enormous. In the context of football, not just NFT, but blockchain in general, is changing the sports landscape, creating original content and generating platforms that better protect consumer information and expand opportunities to interact with athletes, teams, and leagues. I believe that we have only scratched the surface and that, in the coming years, we will see this potential evolve in amazying ways.