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Watch 2 Earn: B/R Fan Trivia Game Sees 1 Million Token Claims
Nearly 1 million tokens have been claimed by users since the launch of B/R W2E in February. Flash in the pan or the future of fan engagement for broadcasting?
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In this week’s edition, I was very fortunate to speak with Yang Adija, SVP, Digital League Business Operations, Growth & Innovation at Warner Bros. and Tara Fung, founder of Co:Create — some of the leaders behind B/R’s Watch To Earn (W2E) trivia game!
Watch 2 Earn: B/R Fan Trivia Game Sees 1 Million Token Claims
📺 What is Bleacher Report, Watch To Earn by Warner Bros. Discovery Sports?
Earlier this year, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports launched B/R Watch 2 Earn, a blockchain-based trivia and fan rewards program on the Inside the NBA program on TNT.
Viewers receive digital tokens for correctly answering trivia questions that can be redeemed for NFT video highlights from Inside the NBA or other real-world prizes and merchandise such as T-shirts, hoodies, and props from the studio show.
There are three tiers that are part of W2E, as per Matt McElroy, Sr. Director of Growth & Innovation and Digital League Streaming at Warner Brother Discovery Sports:
Always On: “First is an Always On game. Kind of like Wordle, it’s like your daily, like a single question, low token value, daily check-in game.”
Scheduled: “There’s a scheduled game at 7:30 that’s for our Discord community, but anybody can join.”
Integrated: “Then there’s a third tier, which is integrated into our linear studio shows via a QR code where trivia goes live. After you engage in trivia and depending on how many questions you get, right, you earn VR tokens. And then that VR token, it’s kinda like going to an arcade.”
Simply put, this is a way to create engagement during broadcasting and increase the longtail relationship with fans.
Sports broadcasting is constantly trying to refine how they engage with fans, particularly with younger generations.
The NBA for example has seen a decline in viewership figures, particularly when looking at the NBA finals. But actually, how flexible the NBA are with their licensing from a social perspective means that the amount of ‘NBA content’ that has been viewed across social channels means the total ‘viewership’ of the NBA has increased.
Nonetheless, broadcasting is the golden goose for how sports leagues and teams drive revenue, and it’s important for those figures to stay stable or increase.
The stats for W2E have been pretty impressive to date:
0.53% conversation rate from our broadcast to online game play
Nearly 1 million tokens have been claimed by users since the launch of B/R W2E in February.
More than 20% of players return week over week to play.
On average more than 80% of users are completing gameplay week over week.
💬 Some quotes from the creators
In a Sporting Crypto first, I was able to sit down (virtually) with the people behind B/R W2E.
Tara Fung, founder of Co:Create who helped create the proposition discussed how the beauty is in the simplicity, and the infrastructure that it is built on helps:
“This BR token can be earned and redeemed and viewers have the ability to create wallets with just an email address and transactions are free. Those are all the things that we work to enable so that brands can focus on the experience layer and we can focus on the infrastructure that empowers those experiences without brands needing to have their own blockchain developers and get caught up in the tech and the risk and the legal hurdles associated with building with blockchain technology”
The issues we’ve seen with a lot of token projects in sports are:
1) The complexity
2) The focus on speculation
Co:Create and WBD Sports have managed to create a proposition that is simple and doesn’t have any speculation. You can’t take a B/R token and sell it on a crypto exchange because they don’t want the rife, random speculation that doesn’t do anything for their viewership or the stickiness of their viewership.
Beyond the bubble
Yang Adija, SVP, Digital League Business Operations, Growth & Innovation at WBD Sports
“I think launching this at a time when the crypto bubble had burst and so there were a lot of questions around, well, has its tulip moment happened and should we still be thinking about crypto in the same way?”
”And fortunately for our team, we've always had a long-term approach to this in which it was more than just the appreciation and the value of a currency. It did become difficult in making sure that we kept everyone focused on what the goal was around fans and bringing real value to our fanbase and for us, creating that business model, and what that looks like for us. Fortunately, we are both an ad-supported business in general, WBD Sports, as well as we have subscription-based or direct-to-consumer-based properties with which we are familiar. And so part of that for us is creating value for our audience and getting that ecosystem vibrant and then leaning into potential ad-supported and or sponsorship opportunities which we have access to, as well as thinking about how do we further sell directly to consumers on whether it's digital or physical.”
My favourite quote is this one:
“has its tulip moment happened and should we still be thinking about crypto in the same way”
Many in the sports industry saw prices in the crypto market decline and stopped their Web3 activities.
But with the hype gone, it’s most definitely the best time to build something that doesn’t need the rampant speculative nature of crypto to flourish.
Creating something that fans actually want to engage with, rather than spend money on hoping for some form of financial gain.
It was refreshing to see that the goal was bringing ‘value to the fans’ rather than extracting value from them, which we’ve seen far too frequently. Instead, Yang discussed the variety of business models that WBD could employ to try and monetise the on-chain network they’re creating.
He mentioned ads, sponsors and also cross-selling merchandise into this audience of engaged users they have — that enjoy this trivia-driven, collectable Web3 activity.
Yang and Tara also talked very interestingly about the interoperability we could see with the B/R token. They view it as a way to activate across other ecosystems, whether they are Co:Create partners, or brands that B/R have deals with.
An acquisition strategy perhaps, but also a way to activate partnerships in less rigid and traditional means.
🧠 My thoughts
In the last crypto cycle, we saw the likes STEPN and Axie Infinity create unsustainable models that drew big crowds of users and didn’t pivot their models fast enough to keep the majority of them.
These ‘to-earn’ models crashed and burned. But even then, they have fairly large userbases, showing that there is an audience who did like their propositions enough to stick with them beyond the potential to make money.
The W2E proposition is no doubt inspired by those Web3 phenomena — but tweaked to ensure that a boom and bust cycle can’t happen.
Most sports Web3 projects or partnerships so far have been commercially oriented.
But many brands in the sports industry have had shocks at how little money they’ve made and how far some of these deals have come from reaching minimum guarantees.
Now, perhaps we’re seeing big brands look at the potential of blockchain in a much more open-minded and less commercially geared way because the lemon has been squeezed to within an inch of its life.
In the past twelve months, I’ve seen a shift. As trailblazers Reddit, Starbucks, Adidas and .Swoosh by Nike showcase propositions centred around loyalty and engagement, many seem to feel this is the way to go — and plenty in the sports industry are starting to take note.
It’s difficult to convince a rights holder or broadcaster to treat ‘Web3’, the technology, as a cost centre like many do social media. But investments in social media generate massive amounts of indirect revenue, via merchandising etc.
Those who were completely commercially focused, have remained so but only in a sponsorship capacity — or from an IP perspective, but only if they’re a top-tier sports operator. And even then, like the NFL and Dapper Labs NFL ALL DAY proposition has shown — there can be a big disparity between expectations and actual revenue.
Two things are true of the landscape over the next 12 months.
Sports brands that view Web3 through a purely commercial lens will continue to overvalue their IP and continue to squeeze sponsorship dollars.
Many sports brands will start to develop, or attempt to develop propositions that are cost centres, but engage their fans in a new and novel way — that they then try and cross-sell to other channels.
The playbook has and will evolve to something more engaging, and fun — that brands can then cross-sell into.
We shouldn’t underestimate just how powerful an on-chain network of fans is.
💡Sporting Crypto Spotlight
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