A platform to build an “active” community of kabaddi fans via blockchain voting and perks
What if you have something to say in the jersey of your favorite sports team? What if your opinion is sought on game plans and training sessions? What if your voice is heard and it influences the team’s decision? All this is possible if you follow the game of kabaddi and this is what Sportzchain, a fan engagement platform, is trying to do.
Singapore basedaims to “empower” fans of kabaddi so that they actively engage with the team of their choice and participate in team decisions and not just remain passive supporters.
The startup recently ran a poll asking fans Dabang Delhi kabaddi team to cast their vote by choosing a design for their team’s training kit.
How is this different from a Twitter survey? According to the company, Twitter polls do not influence the team’s decision. But on Sportzchain’s web app, kabaddi fans with tokens (cryptocurrency) can participate in votes that will influence certain decisions of the teams, says Siddharth Jaiswal, co-founder, Sportzchain. The Decryption History.
“The sports team must follow the results of the vote and put the fans’ suggestions into action. This will create a more loyal fan base. We want to create a decentralized fan engagement platform where fans can influence a team’s decision, he says.
For example, the training kit chosen by most fans in the poll will be used by Dabang Delhi during the upcoming season of the Pro Kabaddi League, the professional kabaddi league in India.
Going forward, fans can even influence decisions such as game plans and training sessions.
Enables two-way communication
Die-hard sports fans, Siddharth Jaiswal, Vinayak Yannamand Sankar SK, co-founders of the startup, noticed that in conventional fan engagements, fans do not actively engage with the team and act as passive supporters. They wanted to support homegrown sports like kabaddi and encourage the fans in a way that they felt connected to the teams. So they teamed up to start Sportzchain, a Web3 engagement-to-earn platform, in 2022.
Growing interest in kabaddi
Cricket may be a dominant sport in India, but other sports are also catching up. India’s performances in the just-concluded Commonwealth Games and the Chess Olympiad and Olympics in the past have piqued viewers’ interest in other sports. Apart from badminton, chess and hockey, the indigenous sport of kabaddi, which is said to have originated in Tamil Nadu, has also gained a large following. In fact, the first edition of the Pro Kabaddi League in 2014 saw the second highest viewership in the country, just behind the Indian Premier League (IPL).
A kabaddi match between Tamil Thalaivas and UP Yoddha in 2019
Like shrill cries of kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi rent the air, the crowd watching the match is filled with anticipation. It is this growing interest and excitement around the game that Sportzchain wants to capitalize on. Towards this goal, the startup has partnered with four teams from the Pro Kabaddi League—Tamil Thalaivas, Dabang Delhi, Bengali warriorsand Gujarat Giants.
“When we talked about tokenizing membership for a loyal fan base, we thought of kabaddi because a majority of the viewers of the Pro Kabaddi League are from tier-2 and tier-3 cities, which is huge from a crypto audience’s point of view. In a recent survey we noticed that 60% of WazirX and Coinbase users were from tier-2 and tier-3 cities and we considered this (kabaddi) to be the ideal match,” explains Siddharth.
However, the co-founder says that Sportzchain is open to cooperation with any sport. The start-up has collaborated with Iceland cricket team and is in talks with some IPL teams as well.
How the platform works
The fan engagement platform is built on, an infrastructure provider. In July, the startup launched its alpha application and is testing it with select users.
There are two types of polls on the Sportzchain platform—decision measurements and opinion polls. While the judgment of the fans in decision polls will be implemented by the sports team, the poll will be used to understand the opinions of the fans, although they are not binding on the team. The polls take place on the blockchain platforms Ethereum and Polygon. The votes are stored on a blockchain, thus eliminating vote bias and the possibility of rigging, says Siddharth.
Aside from the jersey vote, the startup also ran a poll on what fans are up to tamil thailavas the team preferred to watch – an explainer video after the auction or retained players attempting dialogues from Tamil films. The result of the vote was in favor of an explainer video, and a video explaining strategies and team strength was released.
Recently, Sportzchain conducted a poll asking fans to pick a team – from Sweden, Netherlands, Lithuania, and Poland— who may play a cricket match against Iceland in 2023.
Earlier, the startup had launched phygital collections (physical objects paired with digital NFTs). The startup had made the Tamil Thalaivas captain’s jersey digital NFTs. Users who brought the NFTs also received a physical framed copy.
Sportzchain received grant worth $10K from Ethereum scaling solution Polygon in March 2022. In May, the start-up closed $600,000 in a seed round led by SUNiCON Ventures and MAKS Group.
The company is at a pre-revenue stage and will run on a B2B model. When the platform goes live, it intends to launch fan tokens. Sports teams will own tokens; 80% of the revenue generated from these will go to the teams, while Sportzchain gets the rest 20%. The company also plans to earn revenue through contests.
The sports marketing business has recognized the potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to increase fan attendance and attract sponsors. The global market value of fan tokens is around $350 million. According to CoinMarketCap, the top-ranked tokens in the industry, as of August 11, 2022, are Alpine F1, Paris Saint-Germain, SS Lazio, Manchester City, FC Portoand FC Barcelona.
Globally, Chili ($CHZ), a blockchain fintech provider, was the first to offer fan engagement tokens focused on sports and e-sports in the European market. Today, there are several Indian startups in the space, incl Stan and Fanzee.
“We have an advantage as I don’t think there is any startup that focuses on local sports like kabaddi,” says Siddharth.
The company will make a public launch of its initial sports token ($SPN) in August this year and will make them available on various crypto exchanges in September.
Fans can visit the Sportzchain platform, register and purchase tokens, where they can access various team-branded merchandise, participate in activities and earn rewards. According to the company, tokens can be traded, as their value increases. Users can redeem them on the Sportzchain platform or any blockchain-based system. The rewards can be physical stadium tours, VIP meetings or discounts on goods.
Siddharth says, “These incentives not only help the fans feel more connected to the team, but also give a sense of pride and prestige.”
The Sportzchain platform currently has 1,200 user registrations for its alpha application and is hoping for 10,000 registrations by September. The startup aims to incorporate gamification in the future, where users can earn rewards through games.