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ST. PETERSBURG — When the Rays hold their Wander Franco bobblehead game Saturday, the promotional giveaway will have a modern twist: non-fungible tokens.
The traditional bobblehead will be available while supplies last, but all fans in attendance will receive a digitally collectible NFT through Candy Digital, an MLB-wide partner. After registering for the NFT, they’ll also have the opportunity to claim a free ticket for an August game. The NFT will have three different tiers — light blue, gold and Devil Rays-themed versions — assigned at random, with each level containing future benefits that have yet to be determined.
“It’s definitely kind of an old school meets new school,” Rays chief business officer Bill Walsh said.
When fans scan their ticket at Tropicana Field, email accounts associated with the ticket will then trigger a follow-up message with information on claiming the NFT. The design of the NFT is centered around a commemorative ticket, which Walsh said will correspond with the fan’s seat location from that night. Each version will have different art and a different color scheme, too.
It was an idea that first started to brew last offseason, Walsh said. The league partnered with Candy Digital, and the Rays started to look at dates to slide the NFT promotion into their schedule. Walsh said he doesn’t anticipate 100% of people at the game will claim the NFT — there have only been a few of these promotions across the league, and Saturday’s event will still be part of the learning process.
But, Walsh added, hopefully the test run helps with educating about NFTs while allowing the Rays to be innovative and serve as the “tip of the space into the space.”
“NFTs are still maybe new and mysterious to folks,” Walsh said, “and really (we’re) just trying to demystify it as this is really just kind of a digital version of a baseball card — which most people are familiar with.”
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