PBA launches NFT award program for league bowlers

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Stock Photo, tags: league - pbs.twimg.com
Stock Photo – pbs.twimg.com

The Professional Bowlers Association has announced the launch of the League Bowler Certification Awards. This program will provide digital awards in the form of NFTs to league bowlers for achieving certain milestones.

Approximately 300,000 league bowlers participating in leagues at Bowlero bowling centers across the U.S. will receive the NFTs through an airdrop, free of charge. However, once received, these digital awards will not be sellable or tradable. Bowlero chief strategy officer Lev Ekster referred to the initiative as “a loyalty program on steroids.”

Initially, the program will offer NFTs for accomplishments such as bowling a first 200 game, achieving a perfect 300 game, attaining 700 or 800 series or scoring 50 or 100 points over a bowler’s average.

Ekster mentioned that the PBA used to distribute physical awards like rings for certain league milestones but discontinued the practice, leaving some league members disappointed.

The LBC program and digital awards aim to address this gap. To launch this initiative, the PBA has partnered with Layer 3 Labs, a startup that assists traditional brands in adopting blockchain technology.

CEO Jonathan Teplitsky explained that Layer 3 focuses on integrating Web2 brands into Web3. Ekster acknowledged that as a traditional physical sports organization, the PBA is taking “a pretty giant leap” by embracing blockchain technology.

To distribute and manage the digital awards, the PBA will use a dedicated subnet on the Avalanche blockchain to isolate the program from potential issues within the broader Avalanche network.

Since league bowlers are already registered with the PBA’s LeaguePals platform, they will not need to deal with cryptocurrencies to receive the NFTs. Ekster also said that the PBA would not use the term “NFT” when communicating with league members as they might not be familiar with it. Instead, the PBA will refer to them as “digital awards.”

The program’s first phase will focus on distributing the digital awards. In the next phase, the PBA will introduce earnable points that can be redeemed for physical products such as bowling balls or trophies. The achievements will be verified by the Avalanche blockchain to determine eligibility for these physical rewards.

A gateway to Web3

Teplitsky envisions the potential to expand the program by integrating bowlers’ progress and rewards into a metaverse game or offering real-world benefits such as special lighting on lanes. While the PBA aims to eventually offer the program to bowling leagues worldwide, they plan to refine it first within Bowlero leagues.

If successful, Teplitsky said the program could onboard millions of bowlers into Web3 technology.

“This is why I like to work with companies, not ‘projects,'” Teplitsky said. “This is the real world, where this is a real business. Bowlero is valued at billions of dollars, and they are integrating Web3 into a business model. This is the future. We’re not bringing in the same old Web3 people that are trading their Bored Apes.”

Experts in the industry view the program as an innovative way for a traditional sports organization to embrace blockchain technology and engage its community. By offering both digital and physical rewards, the LBC program has the potential to enhance loyalty and participation in bowling leagues.

The PBA’s foray into Web3 places the organization at the forefront of innovation within professional sports. However, some cautioned that the program’s success depends on how well the PBA markets the digital awards to league bowlers and educates them about blockchain technology and NFTs.

If league members do not see value in the digital assets, they may not engage with the program. In turn, the PBA must demonstrate the benefits to bowlers to gain widespread adoption.


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