While the stands are empty, fans can assemble their virtual team of top players and compete in real-time with the same teams. How can blockchain-based fantasy sports “save” traditional sports amid COVID-19? The digitalization of sports is reaching a new level The spread of the coronavirus has been a powerful blow to traditional sports. The ban on public events, the cancellation of Euro 2020, and other large-scale sports competitions knocked the earth out from under the feet of the entire industry. To boost fan engagement and at least partially close the box office hole, traditional sports leagues are looking for ways to rebuild themselves in the digital space. With digitalization becoming an absolute must for the survival of sports as an industry, we will see tremendous growth in esports and fantasy sports. Researcher Mason Nystrom is convinced of this. He believes that blockchain applications can not only bring fans back to sports but also become an excellent source of income for large sports organizations. Nystrom noted: As long as esports hopes for a new round of development with 5G connectivity, blockchain-based-fantasy sports is poised to reach a mass audience. The digitalization of sports has huge potential, according to a PwC study. In the context of the pandemic, simulated sports have become a source of not only entertainment but also a good income. Fantasy sports betting will grow 7.2% over the next 3-5 years, according to PwC. Fantasy sports betting in cryptocurrency The effect of maximum involvement in the game is a key feature of fantasy sports. While in traditional betting the participants predict the outcome of the game, in fantasy sports you can assemble a team of real athletes who take part in a sporting event or championship. The main task is to select the composition of the players who will prove themselves better than the competitor’s team. After the end of the game, each athlete receives the so-called fantasy points, depending on his performance. The more points the assembled team gets, the higher its place in the standings and, accordingly, the higher the earnings. Fantasy games have gained particular popularity in the United States, helped by the lifting of the federal ban on betting markets in 2018. Many participants have already earned six-figure sums on fantasy games, so it is not surprising that interest in this area will only grow. According to Messeri, blockchain applications could play a key role in popularizing fantasy sports. First of all, we are talking about monetization and ensuring the safety of user data. Fantasy games built on blockchain operate by selling non-financial tokens, or NFTs. If your team performs better, you will receive a higher NFT premium than your competitors. The box office grosses of fantasy games are already impressive, given the youth of this trend. In particular, the top three fantasy games – Sorare, MLB Champions, and NBA Top Shot – have already raised over $10 million in sales. The fantasy football game Sorare and the MLB Champions basketball tournament run on Ethereum, while the NBA Top Shot runs on the Flow blockchain.