Milan, April 13, 2022 – According to reports from Sports Pro Media, the value of the NFT market will grow to 75 billion dollars by 2025 and this is largely due to the boom in sales of sports tokens. Furthermore, recent economic studies have projected that in 2022 NFT transactions will exceed $ 2 billion with 5 million people buying them.

“Collectible NFTs, new digital assets linked to” ticket members “and” virtual access tokens “are just some of the NFTs that have had a real explosion in the sports world in recent months – explains Leone Zilio, lawyer in charge of the sports department of the Rödl & Partner studyNon-fungible tokens (NFT), i.e. certificates in digital format that are neither interchangeable nor replaceable and non-fungible thanks to the use of blockchain technology, have become a potential financial resource for the entire sports industry and especially for that It is no coincidence that, just recently, the tennis star Serena Williams joined the board of directors of one of the main fantasy football platforms on blockchain and, in fact, the world of football, played, virtual or simulated, it will be one of the major sectors in which NFTs will develop.

For football clubs, NFTs can be a new revenue to implement revenue in addition to the classic sponsorships, ticket sales and TV rights and at the same time increasingly retain their fanbase with new forms of entertainment and user experience. In light of all this, it is clear how much these digital assets represent enormous potential for clubs, companies and leagues. But beware, it’s not all that simple. If on the one hand sports clubs will have to adapt and implement their technological knowledge and skills to the trends and demands of new markets, on the other hand they will have to be very careful about the legal implications associated with this new digital resources.

One of the possible legal implications relating to the NFT world in the sports industry and specifically in the world of football is that concerning sports sponsorship contracts – explains the lawyer. Leone Zilio of Rödl & Partner – specifically, the sponsors ask and will increasingly ask the sponsee for a guarantee that the visibility given to their brands, logos and distinctive signs in the real world corresponds to the same exposure in the virtual world. For example, the sponsor’s logo present on the entrance tunnel of the players on the pitch must also be present in the same virtual context traveled by the fan in augmented reality. “

“Then, there can be numerous legal implications inherent in the sale of NFTs, specifically those related to copyright – underlines the Rödl & Partner expert – It is in fact appropriate to clarify the fact that the buyer of a NFT limits itself to acquiring an encoded metadata file using a work, such as a photo of an athlete caught in the act of making a sporting gesture, which may be subject to copyright protection. By purchasing the metadata, the buyer does not acquire the work itself and therefore consequently does not have any intellectual property rights towards the original work. “

To this is added the legislation on image rights. The Rödl & Partner experts specify that a Club that intends to sell an NFT relating to the image of its athlete to third parties must ensure that it has acquired the relative right of economic exploitation of the image from the athlete himself

“Finally – concludes the lawyer Leone Zilio – there are legal implications for consumer protection. The latter cannot ignore basic information relating to the functioning of the sale and purchase of these digital assets. On the one hand, there is therefore the need to make the general terms and conditions of sale accessible and understandable to the consumer and on the other hand to deal with the complexity of the matter that does not allow the linear applicability of the consumer protection regulations. For example, the so-called ‘Right of withdrawal’ of the consumer. In fact, once the buyer has purchased an NFT he no longer has a way to terminate the contract and return the asset with consequent refund of the sums spent. “



Press Office  Rödl & Partner Italy
Purple & Noise PR


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