Can the appeal of NFTs broaden the audience for racing?
The racing gossip grapevine is full currently of reaction to the affordability checks being applied to punters and their impact on racing’s finances. It’s a topic that is likely to rumble on for some time. But there’s a parallel issue which also threatens to provide an alternative outlet for gamblers rather than live racing, which can be seen both as threat and opportunity by the sport.
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have been making waves in the world of digital art and collectables, and now there is speculation about how this technology could change the sport of horse racing. NFTs are still something of a new technology, so their true potential is only just beginning to be realised.
Putting NFTs and horse racing together might seem a little peculiar at first, but there is actually a variety of reasons why these two seemingly mismatched worlds go together much better than you would expect. LetÔÇÖs dive straight into it.
The ability to turn racing into a collectathon
One way NFTs could change horse racing is through the creation of digital collectables. Racing is a sport with a rich history, punctuated by many notable horses and jockeys. With NFTs, fans of the sport could collect digital versions of these horses and jockeys, creating a new form of collectables that could increase fan engagement and drive revenue for the industry.
This may sound a little strange to you if you are unfamiliar with the hobby of card collecting – why would grown adults want to buy and trade digital cards of their favourite horses and horse racing jockeys? Well, similar things to this have been happening for decades, both in other sports and sectors. Collecting things is not merely the domain of children.
It would take an entire article to explain why card collecting is popular, but just know that it is a fun and engaging hobby that incentivises players to acquire and collect as many cards as possible to get a complete collection. NFTs have the potential to change horse racing into a whole new entity, and they could broaden the horizons of the sport quite substantially.
Raising the stakes of online gambling
Another way NFTs could change horse racing is through the creation of virtual racehorses. Horse racing can be an expensive sport, both in terms of the cost of owning and training a racehorse and the cost of attending live races. With NFTs, fans could own virtual racehorses and compete in virtual races, creating a new form of racing that could democratise the sport and make it more accessible to a wider audience.
Whilst this may seem anathema to established gamblers well rooted in the sport, the success of virtual racing in betting shops and online is an indicator that new and younger audiences for racing have no such hang-ups about the virtual world.
This could bring horse racing to an entirely new audience, an audience that is not dedicated enough to horse racing to actually go to events and support it but still has an interest and want to participate in some way. It will also allow horse racing fans to go onto new online sports betting portals and put bets on their favourites to win certain virtual races – this would shake up the horse racing world in so many ways.
Virtual horse, riders, trainers & racecourses
NFTs could also be used to create virtual stables, where fans could own, breed and trade virtual horses. This will give a new way for fans to be even more engaged with the sport, and also give the industry more opportunities to monetize fan engagement.
Furthermore, NFTs could also be used to create virtual race tracks, where virtual races could be held. This could provide a new form of entertainment for fans, as well as a new revenue stream for the industry by creating new opportunities for sponsorships and advertising.
┬áJust imagine going onto a website listing all of the upcoming horseracing fixtures and seeing your favourite virtual horse competing on a track through the Alps. Taking things one step further; you could even raise, breed, and train your own virtual horse to participate in races and watch your own racehorse dominate the tracks. This puts racing into the computer gaming sector, where a much younger audience plays games more readily. Migrating these fans from virtual racing to the real thing should be a shorter step than one might imagine.
The possibilities with virtual horses, riders, and racetracks are endless, and there is no doubt that these developments are going to change the way people perceive horse racing forever. Virtual racing, currently seen largely as an abberation by the sport’s followers, should also be seen as an opportunity.
In conclusion, NFTs have the potential to change the horse racing industry in multiple ways, and we could see NFTs become an integral part of horse racing in the future.
These applications of NFTs could increase fan engagement and drive revenue for the industry, democratise the sport, and make it more accessible to a wider audience. However, It is important to note that this is still a new and emerging technology, and it remains to be seen how it will fully develop and take shape in the horse racing industry/scene.
Only time will tell what comes of NFTs in horse racing, but they are definitely going to play some kind of role in developing the sport. It will be interesting to see how things turn out.
See you next time.