NBA team the Charlotte Hornets will become one of the first US professional sports teams to mint an NFT in the form of digitally designed commemorative game tickets.

Fans will be able to purchase commemorative NFTs featuring the ticketing artwork during today’s (Thursday’s) game against the LA Clippers through the Hornets App.

An NFT is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio and other types of digital files and most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain.

The Hornets will be selling 88 digital ticket NFTs minted on the Flow Blockchain in recognition of its inaugural season (1988-89).

Fans will not require cryptocurrency to purchase the $4.99 tokens, which will debut for the first time publicly during the game.

Hornets president and vice chairman Fred Whitfield said: “The Hornets are thrilled to be one of the first professional sports teams to introduce to our fans a series of commemorative NFTs.

“Innovation is in the DNA of the Hornets organisation, dating back to our original uniforms and colors, and we wanted to offer our fans the opportunity to participate in the excitement, popularity and cutting-edge nature of NFTs. We take pride in the fact that these are fan-friendly NFTs with a very low barrier to entry. We think our fans will enjoy the design, and we look forward to growing in this space in the future.”

The Hornets will launch additional commemorative NFTs as part of a collectible series, including during potential games in the State Farm Play-In Tournament and NBA Playoffs.

The NBA franchise worked with Dapper Labs and Mint to launch the NFT on the Flow Blockchain. Its in-house creative department designed the digital artwork and collaborated with other departments across the organisation.

Elsewhere, The Preakness has become the first horse racing event to auction NFTs.

The Maryland event is creating 17 items ranging from full race videos to the trophy and a special Preakness horse for the digital racing game Zed Run.

Some of the digital tokens come with real-life experiences at the 2021 Preakness, including VIP tickets, a visit to the winner’s circle and naming a race on the undercard.

David Wilson, chief marketing officer of 1/ST Racing, an arm of the Stronach Group that operates the Preakness, said, according to the Associated Press: “Launching an NFT collection around the Preakness, something that we know is very special and has been running for 146 years, I think will help us sort of make inroads to that that younger audience.

“We’re making incredible strides, I think, to innovate within our sport, to draw in sort of a younger audience. I think with the NFT collection, we wanted to be the first within our sport to do it.”

The Preakness is usually held on the third Saturday in May each year at Pimlico Race Course, with this year’s event scheduled for this Saturday.

Image: Erik Cleves Kristensen / CC BY 2.0 / Edited for size