Free posters, batting gloves and bobbleheads are great, but the Seattle Mariners are tapping into futuristic technology to celebrate baseball’s past with a non-fungible token (NFT) giveaway at an upcoming game.
The digital collectible will take the form of a commemorative ticket for fans who attend game one of a doubleheader against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday. The artwork features current players J.P. Crawford, Logan Gilbert and Ty France and pays tribute to the Seattle Steelheads, a 1946 Negro League franchise.
A customized notation of the game’s date, matchup and ticket holder’s seat locations are also included, according to the Mariners. For fans who are more accustomed to tracking RBI, OBP and ERA rather than NFT, get more details at this Mariners FAQ.
The team is partnering with Candy Digital, a division of the sports e-commerce company Fanatics, which offers digital assets for fans and collectors and serves as Major League Baseball’s official NFT ecosystem. NFL legend Peyton Manning is among the investors in the company, which was worth $1.5 billion last fall.
“We’re constantly looking for innovative ways to enhance our fan experience and creating this digital collectible is a new way for fans to connect with the rich history of the Negro Leagues and baseball in the Northwest,” Gregg Greene, Mariners vice president of marketing, said in a statement.
To receive the NFT, fans must have a game ticket in the MLB Ballpark app or Apple Wallet for the game at T-Mobile Park. Those in attendance with a ticket will receive a redemption email on or around June 20.
NFTs are a burgeoning technology that allow people to secure unique ownership of artwork, videos, photos, and other digital content on the blockchain. The craze took off over the last couple years, with sales of some digital art, avatars and more reaching multi-million-dollar levels.
But sales are on the decline and a “NFT slump is real” according to recent data, suggesting that the “crypto or web3 market is in a period of correction — what some describe as a ‘winter,’” TechCrunch reported.
The Mariners join other Seattle sports teams getting in on the game.
The Seattle Kraken NHL team and Climate Pledge Arena dropped a limited edition NFT collection comprised of seven designs “capturing the essence of the Kraken brand” last season. The Seattle Sounders FC and Major League Soccer also embraced the hype with street art NFTs tied to a match against Portland in May 2021.