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Stillman School of Business News and Events LogoSeton Hall University
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
By Michael Ricciardelli
Fans Like Benefits from NFT Ownership; Seek More
Image of a NFT coin and two US dollars next to a keyboard on a desk.While the concepts of cryptocurrency (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.,) and non-fungible tokens (NFT) may still be foreign to many Americans, 24 percent of households in the U.S. have owned either or both. And the numbers rise dramatically among avid sports fans, where 57 percent have purchased these new financial assets along with 34 percent of sports fans.
Participation in the buying or selling of crypto and NFTs is especially strong among younger demographics, with 42 percent of those age 18-34, 29 percent of those age 35-54, but only 7 percent of those 55+ saying that a member of their household has bought or sold either.
By almost three to one margin, more men (37 percent) than women (13 percent) have participated.
“Although we are in the early innings of crypto and NFT ownership, sports fans have shown a real proclivity for engagement in these markets,” said Seton Hall Marketing Professor and Poll Methodologist Daniel Ladik. “If managed effectively, NFTs could become a major source of revenue as well as a new avenue of fan connection for sports brands. In a digital age, interactive assets like NFTs can drive a sense of holder equity and belonging – key attributes for brand success.”
These were the findings of a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted this last month among 1,514 adults across the country. The poll features a national representative sample weighted on U.S. Census Bureau figures for gender, age, ethnicity, education, income and geography and has a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percent.
When asked specifically if their holdings were cryptocurrency and/or NFTs, survey participants indicated stronger engagement with crypto. Of those who hold and/or sold either, 62 percent specified crypto only, while 31 percent specified NFTs only. Seven percent said both.
While NFTs and fan tokens have value related to their scarcity, the main value to these digital offerings are the benefits beholden to their owners. A number of sports teams are offering perks for their NFT holders and the Seton Hall Sports Poll queried respondents on their interest in these benefits. Specifically, they were asked if things like discounts at team stores, conversion of a game day ticket into a digital collectible card, a ticket upgrade to a premium seat, or being allowed to walk on the field or court after a game have fan/purchaser appeal.
Upgrading a ticket at no additional cost seems to be the most popular “perk” for NFT holders, with 43 percent of the general population saying yes to that benefit, (66 percent of avid fans, 58 percent of sports fans).
Discounts at team stores scored 34 percent “yes” among the general population (49 percent among sports fans, 66 percent among avid fans); conversion of a game ticket to a digital collectible was 28 percent yes among the general population (40 percent for sports fans, 54 percent for avid fans); post-game walking on the field or court scored 33 percent yes among the general population (45 percent sport fans, 57 percent among avids); and being a member of a leadership committee pertaining to the organization was 37 percent yes among the general population (46 percent for sports fans, 60 percent for avid fans).
“The numbers would seem to indicate that NFTs represent fertile ground for leagues to enhance the fan experience,” said Professor Charles Grantham, Director of the Center for Sport Management within Seton Hall’s Stillman School of Business, which sponsors the Poll. “But, perhaps because teams and leagues don’t fully understand the nature and potential of NFTs and perks like a digital VIP card, that ground has yet to be sown effectively by major sports organizations in the United States.”
Questions with charted breakdowns may be found in an online version of this release at
This SHSP was conducted May 5th through May 9th and includes responses from 1,514 US adults with a margin of error of 3.2%. The sample mirrors the US Census percentages on age, gender, income, education, ethnicity, and region.
Cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and fan tokens, digital assets all based on blockchain technology, are rapidly increasing in popularity among sports teams and athletes.
Q15a. Including all members of your household, has anyone ever purchased a cryptocurrency (e.g. Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Cardano (ADA), etc.) and/or Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)?
Q15a. By Age
Q15a. By Gender
15aa. You indicated that you, or a member of your household, has previously bought cryptocurrencies or NFTs. Which of the following applies? [Shown only to “yes” in Q15a.] 
Beyond their value as a sports collectible, (i.e. the equivalent of a digital autograph or a desired sports card), NFTs and fan tokens also can feature additional fan benefits, functioning like a digital VIP card. Many sports teams, as well as athletes offer NFTs and fan tokens.
Pretend, that you are the owner of an NFT or fan token from your favorite sports team/athlete, would any of the following benefits interests you?
Q15b. Significant discounts at the team store for official merchandise (i.e., jerseys, hats, exclusive items)
Q15c.The conversion of your game day ticket into a digital collectible card that could be sold or traded?
Q16a. The benefit of walking on the field or court after the game for 15 minutes to take pictures?
Q16b. The ability for a ticket upgrade to more premium seats at no additional cost?
Q16c.To be a member of a leadership committee for your sports teams, providing input and feedback on decisions regarding the sports organization?
The Seton Hall Sports Poll, conducted regularly since 2006, is performed by the Sharkey Institute within the Stillman School of Business. This poll was conducted online by YouGov Plc. using a national representative sample weighted according to gender, age, ethnicity, education, income and geography, based on U.S. Census Bureau figures. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S residents. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been chosen for inclusion in iPoll by Cornell’s Roper Center for Public Opinion Research and its findings have been published everywhere from USA Today, ESPN, The New York Times, Washington Post, AP, and Reuters to CNBC, NPR, Yahoo Finance, Fox News and many points in between.
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