By Michael Teich
One team is bringing crypto to the baseball diamond.
The LA Dodgers will hold what is considered to be the first-ever crypto giveaway in sports when they take on the San Diego Padres Friday night.
Fans will have a chance to receive digital bobbleheads that double as crypto tokens. After unlocking the Dodgers' coin within an Ethereum wallet, they’ll have the opportunity to download a digital caricature of one of three players: Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner, or Kenley Jansen.
“Hopefully, what we're going to see is the start of a new market of collectibles within digital assets,” Ralph Esquibel, the team's VP of Information and Technology, said Friday in an interview on Cheddar.
Esquibel said the adoption of blockchain will bring new life to the world of collecting. Collecting sports memorabilia isn't just a hobby, though. It's also a $5.4 billion industry in the U.S., according to research from collectable.com.
For now, the Dodgers will not be introducing crypto as a currency to buy peanuts and crackerjacks ー or even tickets to games. But Esquibel sees those options as a possibility for the future.
“I don’t believe we’re ready for it, as of yet," he said.
The crypto integration is one example of how major league sports teams are trying to lure fans off the couch and into stadiums and improve the venue experience.
Teams in other leagues ー like the NFL's Baltimore Ravens and the Atlanta Falcons ー are slashing concession prices. The Ravens’s director of guest experience told Cheddar that he hopes M&T Stadium’s 33 percent price reduction on certain foods and beverages will increase fan engagement and boost ticket sales.
While the Dodgers are focused on the next big thing in sports memorabilia, Esquibel reassured fans of collectibles that the new crypto tokens won’t replace traditional bobbleheads.
At least not for now.
For full interview click here.