Tickets could be so much more

Blockchain tech will change the ticketing industry ¬– but it may take time

Hi all,

Have you ever attended a concert? Or have you been to a home game of your favourite sports team? Then you probably had to buy a ticket.

Due to the large number of events, the ticketing industry is pretty big. It's also pretty concentrated – the market may look different in other countries, but there aren't a lot of small players which would encourage competition and innovation.

Blockchain technology could change that.

So what’s up?

We explain a couple of things:

  • How do blockchain-based tickets work?

  • Why are they better than traditional tickets?

  • When are we all using them?

Let’s get started! 🤓

Tickets are important. They allow you to attend all types of events ­– but you only need them once. When they're printed, you might keep them as memorabilia, but many tickets today are merely a QR code on a smartphone.

That's convenient because you'll probably take your phone anyway. It's also an opportunity. After scanning your ticket, it could evolve into a picture from the event. Or a video. Or a special offer for fans.

There is no shortage of possibilities. Some of those are already possible, but blockchain technology creates many additional opportunities.

Everybody could benefit: event organisers, sponsors and fans.

How do blockchain-based tickets work?

Any ticket could be issued as a so-called NFT. That's short for 'non-fungible token' which sounds more complicated than it is.

A token is essentially a symbol that represents something. You could give somebody a present as a token of your gratitude. Tickets are a token which give you access to an event 

'Non-fungible' means that every token is unique. You can exchange bank notes into coins without changing the value. Tickets are slightly different. You pay for seat 12 in row 15. The guy in seat 13 may be in the same price category, but it's still a different seat.

When a ticket is issued as an NFT which is stored and managed on a blockchain, the most important change to traditional tickets is the tech in the background. That may help to mitigate problems like counterfeits or allow organisers to create token-gated access. None of that, however, is immediately visible for fans attending a game or a concert.

Fortunately, that's not everything.

Why are NFTs better than traditional tickets?

Sounds like a simple question, but there isn't just one answer. It depends on the perspective. We've covered some advantages for organisers already, so let's dive into the benefits for fans:

  • Ownership: In theory, you can buy or sell tickets on the secondary market. In practice, there are all kinds of issues with re-sales. Even for seemingly straightforward transactions, the user experience is far from simple. NFTs, on the other hand, are easy to trade and transfer.

  • Unique collectibles: NFTs can evolve. After scanning your ticket, it can change into a digital collectible, for example a photo from the event or some piece of digital art. That's a nice memory for fans – and it's great for sharing on social media.

  • Added value: NFTs can trigger additional transactions. Upon scanning your ticket, you may receive another token that gives you a discount for purchases. Attending a certain number of home games of your favourite sports team could also get you free entry to a pre-season game or the opportunity to attend an exclusive video call with a star player.

Those are just simple examples. You can think much further as well. Sports teams could offer unique collectibles – like digital player cards – for every home game. They could then design a game around those cards which makes them even more desirable for fans.

Even this short glimpse into the future makes it obvious that NFT tickets have a lot of potential.

When are we all using NFTs as tickets?

Another simple question that is hard to answer. By and large, there are two things to consider:

The tech

Blockchain technology has made a lot of progress in recent years, but it's arguably not mature enough yet to handle large-scale demand of NFT tickets. Moreover, the user experience with mobile crypto wallets – which you need to store any kind of NFT – is far from smooth. These issues, however, are set to be solved in the very near future.

The business

Ticketing is complex. Sports leagues or individual teams, music festivals, bands or venues create tickets which are then sold – independently or through specialised providers. Live Nation Entertainment is by far the largest one – which will have to deal with an antitrust lawsuit in the coming months.

And that means…

The fact that ticketing is so complex makes it hard to compete with huge established competitors. At the same time, it creates niche opportunities and grow from there.

You probably shouldn't expect to get an NFT ticket for every concert or sports game you're attending in the next year or two. At the same time, you shouldn't be surprised to get one in the near future – and it's quite possible that you'll be pleasantly surprised about the upgrade from a traditional ticket.

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That’s the end for today! 😢

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