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Formula 1's Web3 Ecosystem Accelerates
Formula 1's explosive growth is seeing teams and races continue their exploration of Web3 technology.
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As an industry friend put it to me last week:
“I just cannot keep up with all the news”
I’ll be honest, I’ve been finding it difficult too.
And I’m not talking about Web3 in totality, I’m talking about just brand side strategy and activations.
Even sports in isolation; there are just so many headlines.
But as always with Sporting Crypto, we try and bring the most substance-full headlines to your attention and break them down.
Before you get stuck into the newsletter…
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Formula 1's Web3 Ecosystem Accelerates
The Sporting Crypto Newsletter is supported by The HBAR Foundation.
𝗙𝗼𝗿𝗺𝘂𝗹𝗮 𝟭 𝗶𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝗪𝗲𝗯𝟯 𝗺𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁.
As per my write-up a few weeks ago on McLaren Racing’s Web3 strategy (🔌 which you can find here) — Formula 1 is (arguably) leading the way in sports when it comes to Web3.
Perhaps not at the ‘League’ level, but when you factor in how active teams are on the sponsorship, partnership and activation side, it feels as though they are ahead of the curve compared to most of, if not all sports.
The sport itself is in a fascinating position.
It’s growing very quickly in terms of brand, viewership and fandom. The average age of viewers has decreased, according to a global fan survey in 2021 where the average age of respondents was 32 years old, compared to 36 years old in 2017.
It’s a growing sport with a young demographic intent on using Web3 to engage their fans.
And it’s being done in a variety of ways.
Free NFTs, Art Drops, collaborations with massive brands, NFT tickets, commemorative NFT tickets — F1 has it all, seemingly.
Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen teams and races launch some really interesting Web3 propositions.
This newsletter covers:
👾 Alpine Racing x Reddit
🏁 Dutch Grand Prix Using Digital Collectibles
🎨 The Velocity series by Oracle Red Bull Racing
👾 𝗔𝗹𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗥𝗮𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘅 𝗥𝗲𝗱𝗱𝗶𝘁
Alpine Racing announced a new partnership with Reddit Avatar Collectables.
It is the first Reddit Avatar collection involving Formula 1, and also the first to include 3D elements.
The Avatars cost between $4.99 - $24.99 and can be mixed and matched with other avatar art.
These avatars are part of a broader partnership between Reddit & Alpine that will see drivers Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon take part in three AMA sessions on the platform.
🧠 Quick Take:
If you’re not familiar with Reddit Avatar Collectables, they are NFTs that Reddit have allowed their users to buy, own and use to customise their Reddit profiles.
What Reddit have done with their Reddit Collectable Avatars is basically Fortnite skins for social.
They have onboarded ~17.5m collectable Avatar NFTs holders, with almost 21.5m collectables claimed. Those statistics are absolutely staggering.
During Super Bowl LVII this year, the NFL and Reddit partnered in what was Reddit’s first NFT collectable sports launch.
1.5+ million people minted the NFL Reddit Avatars. Over half a million new wallets were created specifically to mint these NFL Avatars.
It was free, incredibly easy to do and purely a fan engagement play.
This time around, with Alpine Racing, they’re pushing the boat out with paid collectables.
And it seems the pricing has certainly curtailed the potential number of fans getting their hands on these, as a little over 1000 people have bought an Alpine Reddit Avatar Collectable, according to data available on OpenSea.
I don’t think that’s terrible, at all.
But at that level of revenue, I do wonder if Alpine will try something free in the future.
Generally speaking, partnering with Reddit on the NFT front is something we’re going to see replicated by dozens of brands in the future, I’m sure.
They have one of the biggest online audiences that have actually bought a digital collectable.
The ability to buy them natively on Reddit again reduces the friction for buyers and makes it less alienating for fans. You simply sign up to Reddit and buy with your credit card.
Generally speaking (and this is dependent on how you define success) — I think the NFL’s example of collaborating with Reddit is more a successful sports activation for Reddit and the sports brand in question. With that in mind, the SuperBowl is one of the most watched sporting events globally, so perhaps we are comparing apples to oranges…
Even then, I still like the process, strategy and thinking behind it more.
Again, that’s not to say what Alpine Racing have done here is a bad drop. But I do wonder whether they would have gone down the ‘free’ route if they had their time again.
🏁 Dutch Grand Prix is Using Digital Collectables
Dutch Grand Prix ticket holders were able to claim a digital collectable resembling their own digital piece of the Van Zandvoort track. In honour of the 75th anniversary of the Circuit, they are also giving away some unique digital collectables.
Every ticket holder will have the opportunity to acquire their own collectible through the Dutch GP app.
That’s right, via the official app, not an unfamiliar user flow.
Here’s how it worked:
Step 1: Claim your digital collectible: The collectible is held in an automatically generated wallet in the Dutch GP app and is linked to your DGP app.
Step 2: One hour before the race on August 27th 2023, your piece of track is ‘unwrapped’. Via coordinates, you can see which part of the circuit is yours.
Step 3: After the race, 75 winners will receive an extra limited edition of the Dutch GP collectible. These 75 winners will receive a physical copy and 2 tickets for the Historic Grand Prix 2024.
These collectibles were updated in real-time on race day, with every visitor taking home a piece of the circuit, from the famous ‘Tarzanbocht’ to the high-speed ‘Hunserug’.
Behind the scenes, the tech side of things is impressive. A custodial wallet was created in-app for all attendees at the race. Instead of the user having to manually create or enter their own wallet, GET Protocol, the ticket issuer, connects the collectible to the ticket.
🧠 Quick Take:
Dissecting the track into collectible digital moments is really smart. I like it a lot.
And linking those collectibles to tickets is also smart.
But the best thing about this activation is the simplicity and not having to move off the platform or do anything complicated to claim it.
Keeping this all in-app, simple and straightforward is the real magic here.
Too often, those tasked with creating something Web3-related for their team, club or league spend too much time on the idea or creative and not enough time on execution.
Some even default to a non-custodial wallet (a self-sovereign crypto wallet) because there was not enough time or resources to figure out an easy user flow that is good for the fan.
I’m looking forward to seeing more of this: Sports brands incorporating NFT propositions, paid or free, into the actual foundations of their fan touch points.
🎨 The Velocity Series by Oracle Red Bull
In partnership with Bybit, Oracle Red Bull Racing created the Velocity Series - a Web3 art project with leading digital artists; Rik Oostenbroek, Per Kristian Stoveland, and Erick Snowfro.
Here’s an overview:
The collections are curated in collaboration with AOI, a foundation for emerging art and technology.
The series consists of four releases coinciding with races throughout the 2023 season.
The Velocity Pass is a limited edition of 𝟭,𝟬𝟬𝟬. The pass itself is a dynamic work of art that will evolve over the course of the race season, reflecting key moments.
These sold out for 𝟬.𝟯 ETH each, ~$𝟱𝟬𝟬. Owning the pass will give holders exclusive access and benefits including NFT artwork drops, complimentary airdrops and raffles to real-life prizes.
The Pass is a dynamic NFT that evolves in real time based on key races and moments during the season. It responds to race data and updates to reflect this.
The exclusive collection of digital artworks is inspired by the race team and telemetry from the RB19 F1 car.
The series consists of four releases coinciding with the Dutch, Japan, United States, and Abu Dhabi races throughout the 2023 season.
Each release features a range of NFT collections, including publicly available open-edition and limited-edition NFTs exclusively accessible to holders of the Velocity Pass.
Owning the pass will give holders exclusive access and benefits including:
4 complimentary NFT airdrops
Access to 4 holders-exclusive NFT artwork drops by world-class artists
Entry into raffles for the chance to win rare prizes from Oracle Red Bull Racing and Bybit
🧠 Quick Take:
Broadly speaking, I really like this. I might be biased because I’ve always been a big Rik Oostenroek fan, but the art itself is really captivating. The execution on the creative side is absolutely top-notch.
The passes sold out, which is a great starting point. There’s been 616 ETH (> ~$1m) in secondary market volume and the passes are spread across nearly 400 owners. So if you want to define this by its ability to monetise then it’s a roaring success.
Clearly, Oracle Red Bull, Bybit and co have gone after a premium audience who like art first and foremost.
With all of that in mind, I have some constructive thoughts:
Thus far they’ve gone after a niche audience. That’s fine, but any sustainable sports Web3 strategy has to attract a large audience that are most importantly actually fans of the sport. Perhaps this is a starting point and Red Bull will look to expand that audience in the future.
I actually think there is too much here. Multiple artists, a pass, it feels quite complex and fairly… crypto native? What I mean by that is this feels like it’s a proposition that is built to be understood by crypto natives more than your average Red Bull fan. Again, if this is the base that they expand from and make more mainstream to a larger audience, I think it is completely fine. If it’s a ‘one and done’, maybe not so much.
The overall strategy if it’s a one-off feels behind the curve. Web3 strategies from big brands are evolving beyond simply selling NFTs, whether it’s art or collectibles. I’m a firm believer that art is one of the best use cases for blockchain technology, but there are strong arguments to be made that it’s not what eventually takes off in a mainstream way. They have to be a feature of your strategy, not your actual strategy itself.
💡 Sporting Crypto Spotlight - Ep. 3 of the Podcast!
More Sports & Web3 Stories
NFL All Day have launched Dynamic Moments that evolve based on in-game performance (Read more here)
9round have become the Worldwide Fitness Partner of crypto sports league Karate Combat (Read more here)
Knights of Degen have had some impressive numbers since the beta launch of their Propquest mobile game (Read more here)
Patrick Mahomes’ Museum of Mahomes have collaborated with Azuki the NFT project on exclusive limited edition physical cards (Read more here)
What Happens to Football NFTs Now That Panini Lost Its License? (Read more here)
Staynex Official Partner of Arsenal Football Club to Auction Autographed Team Jersey as a Physical NFT for Charity (Read more here)
PSG’s Director of Web3 envisions future of fan engagement in digital era (Read more here)
Chiliz Labs announces its partnership with TOPGOAL to transform football in the digital era. (Read more here)
STARZPLAY integrates with SKALE blockchain to transform sports streaming (Read more here)
The RugbyDAO x No Standing: Pioneering the Future of Rugby with Emerging Tech (Read more here)
FIBA joins forces with Venly to launch Basketball World Cup digital collectibles (Read more here)
Bit Fry Game Studios and Immutable Games Unveil Infinite Victory Playable Demo at Gamescom (Read more here)
Grand Prix Singapore Season (GPSS) is hosting a Web3 event about media & entertainment x blockchain (Read more here)
200m+ Indonesian football fans to be served by Virtualness, in an exclusive Web 3 partnership with Liga 1 (Read more here)
UBET Sports, the Most On-Chain Sportsbook, Launches on Polygon (Read more here)
General ‘Stuff’ that Could Impact You
Mercury 13 group to invest $100m in buying women's clubs (Read more here)
Artfi Art Technology Company Welcomes Francis Gurry as New Advisor(Read more here)
Atari founder, Animoca sees Web3 games as vital for virtual ownership and education (Read more here)
Sweeping U.S. Tax Proposal Met With Boos From Crypto World (Read more here)
US Open becomes latest tennis major with Roblox experience (Read more here)
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These are the author’s thoughts & opinions and do not represent the opinions of any other person, business, entity or sponsor. Any companies or projects mentioned are for illustrative purposes unless specified.
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