Ticketmaster will now let event organizers issue NFTs (non-fungible tokens) tied to tickets on Flow, a blockchain operated by a16z-backed Dapper Labs. The Live Nation subsidiary said that event organizers can make these NFTs available before, during or after the event and even enable special experiences like loyalty rewards or celebrity meet-and-greets — or simply offer memorabilia in an NFT format.
Ticketmaster initially partnered with Ethereum-based blockchain Polygon last November, to issue virtual ticket stubs to NFL fans through the rest of the season. The ticketing giant then elected the Flow blockchain earlier this year to issue digital collectibles to over 70,000 Super Bowl LVI ticket owners. Ticketmaster is also extending its partnership with the NFL to this season, where it plans to issue NFTs to all attendees of 100 select games, including at least three home games for all 32 teams.
The company said that it has already minted over 5 million NFTs on Flow through various partners after its Super Bowl debut.
“Event organizers who choose to offer fans an NFT with their ticket have a real opportunity to make this new technology relevant and relatable at scale. This is why we are partnering with Flow, because their blockchain is custom-built for fan engagement and frictionless consumer experiences,” Brendan Lynch, Ticketmaster EVP of Enterprise & Revenue, said in a statement.
Its partner for this project, Dapper Labs, which raised $250 million at a $7.6 billion valuation last year, is no stranger to sports-based digital collectibles distributed through Flow. It's well-known as the creator of NBA Top Shot, an NFT marketplace for basketball fans to buy, sell and trade cards of players and top moments in the sport. The company has launched similar marketplaces for UFC and NFL fans, while it also partnered with Spanish soccer club Real Madrid last year to issue NFTs. Other leagues, including the Australian Football League (AFL), the Italian Serie A and the Spanish La Liga, have also chosen the Flow blockchain for digital collectibles.
Web3 companies such as Yellowheart and GUTS are trying to solve problems like ticketing scams and predatory secondary sales — issues that have often been associated with Ticketmaster — by issuing blockchain-based tickets. But for Ticketmaster, this is really just about exploring the possibilities around web3, perhaps as a marketing tool or to see if it helps garner more fan engagement.