Leonsis wants to make NFTs 'understandable and accessible' for fans originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
With an announcement that Monumental Sports & Entertainment would be launching NFT collections for the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals -- a first of its kind venture -- Founder & CEO Ted Leonsis made it clear on Wednesday that he wanted to introduce this digital world to a larger fanbase.
Why? Because Leonsis believes that these non-fungible tokens are something fans of the teams would enjoy. The only reason they haven't before this is because not many know what it is. Now, he's working to change that.
“We want to, with today’s announcement, make NFT’s understandable and accessible to our fanbase," Leonsis said in a Clubhouse conversation with The Action Network's Darren Rovell.
NFTs have been around for a little time now, and while it has boomed into a large market for some, there is still a large population that is uninformed of what, exactly, that market consists of. They are described as "one-of-a-kind digital assets which have an exclusive owner and exist through blockchain technology" -- meaning people can purchase a one-of-a-kind digital moment or piece of memorabilia with verifiable ownership and pricing.
A major player in the world of cryptocurrency, NFTs made their way into sports when NBA Top Shots -- officially licensed digital collectible moments -- broke onto the scene. Seeing the success it brought, the league wanted its teams to get involved, but at a slow rate.
For Leonsis, that meant figuring out the right way to do just that.
“So our challenge as a group is how do we something that is unexpected? How do we do something within the rules of the NBA?" Leonsis said. "And how do we make this accessible to our fans and activate, if you will, something broad that’s very endemic to D.C.?"
Leonsis and company were able to do that by meshing NFTs with the franchises fans adore. With artwork up for auction and additional perks that include tickets, meet-and-greets, jersey and more, it's a way for fans to enter a new world by connecting it with something they are already very familiar with.
In the end, that's what Leonsis is striving for. Just like he enjoys seeing the memorabilia that line his office, he wants to create more ways for fans to own a moment that they can remember forever.
“It combines sports, D.C., local artists, digital artists and tries to bring it out to our fans in a fun, unexpected way," Leonsis said.