The National Football League is hopping on the NFT bandwagon, announcing plans to issue free “virtual commemorative tickets” in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for select games this season.

NFT ticketing has been touted by some as a way for rights-holders to eliminate ticketing companies entirely from the event process, issuing event passes on the blockchain. Such tech could theoretically lock tickets into a system that is controlled end-to-end by the event operator, which would allow them to have rights to collect money at every point where a ticket is resold or transferred or eliminate resale or transfer entirely.

For now, though, the NFL is sticking to the souvenir game, issuing commemorative digital NFTs for games after having eliminated the traditional collectable ticket stub by forcing consumers to accept a digital-only ticketing ecosystem.

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Ticketmaster will be the issuer of the NFTs, which will be controlled on an NFT marketplace run by the Live Nation Entertainment subsidiary. Live Nation rolled out a similar NFT system in connection with the Swedish House Mafia tour, dubbed “Live Stubs.”

“Creating more one-to-one experiences through innovation and technology is a high priority across the League and clubs,” said Bobby Gallo, SVP of Club Business Development at the NFL. “Leveraging the emerging world of NFTs is a new and exciting way for us to create additional value and to further engage with fans who attend select games by providing a virtual commemorative ticket. There is no better time than the upcoming holiday season to kick off this fun and engaging fan experience, starting with the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day matchup.”

Beyond the freebies issued for attendance at specific games, the NFT marketplace will also feature other digital collectables that fans can purchase, then trade or sell (presumably with a commission taken on every transaction by the marketplace).

“These special NFTs give fans a keepsake to remember the game they attended and share the experience with their friends online,” said Brendan Lynch, EVP, Enterprise & Revenue at Ticketmaster. “As we continue to invest and innovate in this space, we’re proud to partner with the NFL to help fans unlock a whole new way to extend their game day experience.”

The current games announced for NFT distribution are as follows – with fans needing to both purchase a ticket and attend the game to be eligible for the digital file:

*Nov. 7 Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
Nov. 25 Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
Nov. 29 Seattle Seahawks at Washington Football Team
Dec. 5 Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
Dec. 5 Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
Dec. 5 Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Rams
Dec. 6 New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
Dec. 9 Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings
Dec. 12 Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
TBD Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns
TBD New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Dec. 19 Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Dec. 19 Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos
Dec. 26 Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons
Dec. 26 New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Jan. 2 Las Vegas Raiders at Indianapolis Colts
Jan. 2 Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots
Jan. 2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Jets
Jan. 2 Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers
Jan. 9 Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
Jan. 9 Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars

*NFTs from this game have already been distributed

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