Sports Illustrated launches NFT ticketing solution

Sports Illustrated launches NFT ticketing solution

It’s something we’ve all received in our inbox before: a digital event ticket with a barcode. We show it to the usher at the gate to the event and then it goes straight into our junk folder. Sports Illustrated wants to turn that thinking on its head with its new ticketing solution, Box Office by SI Tickets, which officially launched earlier this month.

Box Office will allow planners who organize sporting events, festivals, fundraisers, conferences, training events and more to list their events right next to hot-ticket listings, like NBA games or a Beyonce concert, on SI Tickets. The other big differentiator, says SI, is that the tickets that fans will receive digitally — whether paid for or free — are NFTs, powered by blockchain technology providers ConsenSys and Polygon.

But planners don’t need to be wary of the technology, says SI Tickets CEO David Lane. “There is no education required,” he explains. “There are no wallets or crypto, and you don’t need a 10-minute tutorial.”

The solution, which aims to be a competitor to platforms such as Eventbrite and Dice, targets event professionals planning events for 50 to 5,000 people, “where they may not have access to a partner like us, where the barcode – a useless thing delivered to us who start our experience—becomes dynamic, engaging content and a way for the event to engage every fan or attendee who walks through the door,” says Lane.

So how does it do this? After participating in the event, the barcode can become a way to access content such as videos, photos, thank you messages from the trainers or artists, F&B promotions, sponsorships and loyalty benefits. After the event, a ticket buyer can receive a summary of the event with a whizzing wheel or a calendar reminding them of other upcoming events.

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Another fun perk: Say you’re planning a 2,000-person soccer championship. The Box Office can give each player or the entire team their own Sports Illustrated cover that can be broadcast on social media or to family, friends and other participants.

“Fan engagement is so broad, and every team or event or league tries to thank that fan for showing up,” Lane explains. “‘Don’t watch it on your phone at home. Come out. It matters’.”

The blockchain technology behind the solution is also intended to increase payment security and prevent scalping and fraud.

“It works and feels like any other experience, but it’s the most capable, and really for the event-goer, it’s going to change the way they look at what a ticket should do,” says Lane.

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