Most British and American sports fans don’t know what NFTs are
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have become increasingly commonplace in the world of sports. Marketplaces such as NBA Top Shot allow fans to buy, sell, and trade basketball video clips – while earlier this year, an NFT collection celebrating Johann Cruyff sold for $693k at Sotheby’s New York.
But is there genuine appetite for these tokens among sports fans, or do they consider NFTs a load of monkey business?
Looking at Britain and the US shows that less than a third of sports fans (e.g. those who describe themselves as followers of any sport – be it cycling, football, skateboarding, NFL or something else entirely) can confidently say they have heard of NFTs and know what they are (GB 25%; US 29%). One in five say they’ve heard of them but aren’t sure what they are (GB 19%; US 22%) while one in six say they’ve heard of them but have no idea what they are (GB 15%; US 17%). A quarter of American (23%) and two in five British (40%) sports fans say they have not heard of NFTs at all.
Americans who have heard of NFTs are more positive about them overall. Just 3% of British sports fans think NFTs represent good value for money, with 70% saying they represent poor value – but 15% of US sports fans think they represent good value with fewer (59%) saying the opposite.
There are similar differences when you ask about the quality of sports NFTs. American sports fans are more likely to think they’re created to a high standard (21% good quality; 40% poor quality), with British fans far more cynical (6% good quality; 54% poor quality).
In both countries, attitudes towards NFTs are more negative than positive. For athletes and sports teams, this may present a potential hazard to a carefully cultivated brand: our data shows that just 3% of British sports fans and 14% of US sports fans would have a more favourable opinion of a player or team that started offering NFTs – while 35% of British sports fans and 23% of US sports fans would have a worse opinion.
High-profile stories such as the launch – and crash – of John Terry’s Ape Kids Football Club could well have contributed to these negative perceptions; it’s also possible that there simply isn’t yet a mass audience for the assets that athletes and teams are currently providing.
YouGov polled 2,000 US sports fans online on 17 August 2022 between 16:52 and 19:23 BST. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted by age, gender, education level, political affiliation, and ethnicity. The margin of error is 2% for the overall sample.
YouGov polled 2,000 British sports fans online on 17 August 2022 between 16:53 and 19:44 BST. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted by age, gender, education level, region, and social grade. The margin of error is 2% for the overall sample.