By Jacob Feldman
Sports Business Reporter
Despite co-founding NFT provider Fanaply, Mike Rosenthal has not been dismayed by falling crypto prices and their impact on top-selling NFT projects this year. Far from it.
“You’ve seen this correction… which we really welcome, actually,” Rosenthal said in an interview. As he sees it, blockchain products are midway through a classic tech hype cycle, with inflated expectations and ensuing disappointment representing stages to be cleared before long-lasting, mainstream offerings can emerge. “It was getting really intense and a bit overblown there,” he said.
Fanaply recently partnered with tech company LiveLike to offer next-generation loyalty programs for sports properties. Last month, LiveLike partnered with blockchain developer Polygon Studios as well, as it looks to integrate NFTs into the in-app gamification and proof-of-fandom experiences it builds for clients.
For example, potential programs could allow fans to check in to prove they arrived early for three straight games and receive an NFT that would give them access to a postgame player Q&A online. Putting that kind of program on the blockchain could allow users to more easily share their rewards or display them to a third party (maybe for a free beer across the street).
“Moving from collectible, speculative assets that go to the highest bidder and going to more experiences and the assets that you unlock, or earn, and something that goes to the most loyal fan—that’s our core philosophy,” LiveLike cofounder Miheer Walavalkar said in an interview.
LiveLike’s larger offering includes adding engagement features such as live chats, co-watching and quizzes to sports apps, in addition to rewards programs and fan loyalty leaderboards. The company has worked with the NBA, FloSports and Georgia Tech, among others.
Fanaply also promises to introduce LiveLike’s tech to more partners in music and other entertainment, having worked with the likes of Coachella and Trevor Noah. Its sports partnerships have ranged from NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace to the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. The company was founded in 2018.
Both Fanaply and LiveLike are part of Elysian Park’s portfolio, a private investment firm founded by the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group.
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By Jacob Feldman