The NBA’s Detroit Pistons made a splash at the trade deadline, securing 2020’s #2 draft pick James Wiseman as part of a 4-team trade. Wiseman had a nice showing in his Pistons’ debut, and now the team is back with a new announcement over the NBA All-Star break, pairing with NFT platform RareCircles for a new digital fan engagement activation.
RareCircles and the Detroit club have launched ‘Pistons RareAccess,’ a new gated fan experience that utilizes NFTs. The move shows a major investment from the team in building fan growth via web3 tools. Let’s take a look at what we know thus far.
Pistons x RareCircles: Early Stages
The NBA has done a great job making the league a year-round spectacle, but undoubtedly the most exciting time is the post-All Star Weekend playoff push for teams from late February until the playoffs kickoff in June.
And while the club is very much in rebuild mode, investing in a young core of high-potential client including the aforementioned James Wiseman alongside talent like Jalen Duren, Cade Cunningham, Isaiah Stewart and more, there is plenty in the mix for Detroit’s flagship hoopers. While the team finds it’s footing to build around, it’s finding new avenues of fan engagement in the interim.
The RareCircles collaboration will offer a three-tiered approach with different access levels: Legend Editions, All-Star Editions and Starter Editions. It all starts with private “Huddle Sessions” with coaches, team executives and players as well as limited-edition merchandise drops, and gameday ticket giveaways. The move follows a growing amount of NBA clubs that are looking to gate exclusive access and events via NFTs, which allows the club to simultaneously offer a digital collectible that inherently carries recurring utility.
The Detroit Pistons will be teaming up with RareCircles for a new Ethereum-based digital collectible release. | Source: ETH-USD on TradingView.com
RareCircles has helped the Pistons take an especially crypto-native approach, with direct utilization of a crypto hot wallet and Ethereum in order to access the NFTs. However, users can use a credit card for transactions too. This has been the common approach from both brands and teams engaging with digital collectibles – allowing crypto-first consumers to engage while still being consumer-friendly for the less crypto-savvy.
In a press release provided to Bitcoinist, Pistons Chief Revenue Officer Dan Lefton stated:
“We are always looking for ways to provide our fans new opportunities to experience the Pistons like never before… Pistons RareAccess will bring fans closer to all the aspects of the Pistons that make NBA basketball a unique and exciting experience. We’re excited to continue to innovate along with our partners at RareCircles to provide Pistons fans the most engaging and exclusive next-generation platforms.”
This move is the latest in culture-first thinking for a team that boasts rapper Big Sean as their creative director of innovation. Don’t be surprised to see more from the historic club moving forward as the elements surrounding fan engagement via NFTs continue to grow.
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Taylor specializes in crypto activity across sports and entertainment. With nearly a decade of engagement with cryptocurrency, Taylor has spent several years working in talent representation with musicians, comedians, and speakers, and achieved a Sports Business MBA in 2020.