Risks and Opportunities with Metaverse and NFT’S

Panel Topic: Risk and Opportunities with Metaverse applications and NFTs
Panel Members: Joern Schlimm, Senior Manager, Audit Risk and Advisory – FIFA; Hannes Glaeser, Head of Digital; Customer Experience – RB Leipzig; Felix Vetter, Managing Director – Ankura

The panel members kicked off the session by explaining how they see the metaverse and NFTs, and exactly what they are. Felix Vetter said “NFTs provide virtual real estate for the metaverse. The metaverse provides new engagement for how we watch sport. Virtual reality is coming in. NFTs are more associated with a new product often sold with fan engagement.” Joern Schlimm talked about NFTs: “NFTs are digital collectibles. It has an identifier that means it cannot be copied.” He outlined how FIFA are engaging with the new technology. “We’ve experimented a little bit. We have offered videos on our NFT platform.”

“There are a lot of risks involved but also a lot of opportunities. Fan engagement comes with revenue opportunity. Every two years we have a big tournament, so we have to keep fans engaged between the tournaments. We have a lot of down time. We are hoping NFTs and the metaverse can keep us engaged with fans between these tournaments.”

Hannes Glaeser: “We try to really put the fans really at the centre of everything that we do. The website and the apps for now, but we are looking into the future, the metaverse and NFTs are super-interesting for us.” Vetter pointed out that American sports organisations are leading the way at the moment: “In the metaverse, there are examples in the NBA. The Brooklyn Nets broadcast live events in a Virtual Reality environment. It allows the person watching to consume the game from all angles. If they want to attend the Virtual event, you can sell tickets for that. If they want to wear a Virtual jersey, you may be able to sell that.” He continued, “NFTs are frequently used for fan engagement. We’ve seen in the NBA sales of collectible items.”

The panel members discussed the potential financial benefits and risks of owning NFTs, where the value can rise and fall dramatically. Schlimm said: “There is an emotional moment to owning a video of a moment, but there is also a financial element to it.” Vetter pointed out some pitfalls: “Most people are buying it as a speculative asset. You run the risk of alienating your fans. Effectively you are promoting an unregulated product to your fans.” Schlimm compared NFTs to a Picasso painting, where there is just one original but thousands of people have copies around the world. “Let’s say you own the original, say a video clip of a Messi goal, but there are thousands of copies, then the NFT will rise in value.” But NFTs are not universally welcomed. Glaeser said: “Fans in Germany are critical of commercialisation. We have very emotional discussions.” Schlimm “You have to look at your target audience. It is not just geographical or age groups.”