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12th November 2021 - By: Charlotte Morse

A race to the finish line

A race to the finish line

As we continue to sweep through digital innovation in sport, we have another show-stopping update which will make everyone in the crowd cheer.  

Digital innovation in sport appears to have no boundaries, with Nike being the latest brand to take on the virtual collectibles craze. The sports company has moved to file trademark applications that include provisions such as their branding and logo, indicating it wants to sell digital versions of its trainers, clothing and a cluster of other products embossed with its all too familiar tick logo. 

So why has Nike chosen to set foot in this futuristic world? As Facebook, or should we say Meta, announced their new name, the dawning of digital innovation, there has been plenty of talk around their proposed new ‘world’- the metaverse. The metaverse will mirror and augment our own world accessed using virtual reality headsets. Many brands believe the way forward is to create NFTs (non-fungible tokens) available to purchase and use within this online sphere. Think Ready Player One but on a whole new level. Sounds very futuristic right? 

NFTs seem to have appeared from nowhere. In essence “NFTs are a way of making data or digital products unique,” explains Professor Rendahl. “Data normally has the property that it can be copied infinitely but through the NFT technology, data or a digital product can be verified.” 

Although it still seems very hush hush, one thing we do know is that Nike is on the hunt for people who can design virtual products for digital spaces, looking for virtual material designers. The company is looking for people with understanding of various 3D software, virtual material creation tools, shading models, rendering technology, and material capture solutions. Nike isn’t the first sports brand to get on the virtual bandwagon, though. Virtual sneaker company RTFKT sells limited edition NFTs representing sneakers which can be “worn” in some virtual worlds or on social media via a Snapchat filter. “It really took off when COVID started and loads of people went more online,” said Steven Vasilev, RTFKT’s co-founder and CEO. 

Looks like many brands will continue to digitalise their marketing strategy, unlocking virtual reality from a touch of a button. But who will win the race? Only time will tell. Better save Nifty a seat in the Metaverse.