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Utah Jazz embrace Metaverse; becomes world’s first pro sports team to offer NFT program

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The word Metaverse became mainstream after Mark Zuckerberg renamed Facebook Inc to Meta, showing what's next for his company. Utah Jazz became the first professional team to embrace Metaverse with its virtual locker room tour with its NFT program. What's NFT, and why players such as Jordan Clarkson and Rudy Gobert are all in this trend?

The rise of NFTs

Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs have increased in popularity in recent months. NFTs are unique because they give anyone ownership to a specific digital asset, such as art, music, or videos. For collectors, there is serious money to be made on NFTs.

The Gucci Ghost was sold for $3,600, but the owner is flipping it for $16,300, per The Verge. The ridiculous prices indicate the hype around it. The NFTs are suitable for sports collectors because everything can be converted digitally, such as cards, videos, and posters. 

According to The Guardian, the NBA has its own Top Shot NFT marketplace where fans can buy video highlights of their favorite players past or present. They can trade it with other fans via an app. In April, there were about 460,000 NBA Top Shot collectors who made around four million transactions. But what makes Top Shot work is that all revenues are shared with the players in the league. Whatever comes out of a deal from a LeBron James highlight will trickle down to players who make less than superstars. It's a win-win situation for all. 

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Utah Jazz first pro team to offer NFT program

The Jazz launched an NFT program last September, making them first to embrace Metaverse and offer the experience to fans who will get a virtual locker room tour and an opportunity to interact with Jazz legends.

"This NFT program is our opportunity to show the world that technology is thriving in our state, and we intend to be on the forefront of innovation as we move forward." - Jazz owner Ryan Smith.

The team plans to include selling other NFTs that are exclusive Jazz merch. Since fans are limited in live games, creating a Metaverse where people can interact with each other without leaving the comfort of their own homes is a brilliant idea. With Utah as a pioneer, other teams could follow suit, which means another way for fans to enjoy their favorite sport.

Players such as Jordan Clarkson and Rudy Gobert have created avatars for Metaverse.

NFTs are good for the NBA and credit for Utah Jazz for starting the trend and setting the blueprint for other teams in other sports.

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