Kodak, Oak View Group Bring Blockchain Image Sharing to Venues

Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps poses for a selfie with a fan during a Phoenix Suns-Golden State Warriors game at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Kodak will be making its new blockchain-backed image rights management platform available at a half-dozen NBA and NHL arenas next season. Fans in attendance at events will be able to upload photos and videos—and potentially receive compensation.

The initial six arenas are the Spurs’ AT&T Center, the Pacers’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Kings’ Golden 1 Center, the Wild’s Xcel Energy Center, the Devils’ Prudential Center and the Suns’  Talking Stick Resort Arena. Kodak is partnering with Oak View Group to bring its KodakOne platform to these venues, each of which is part of the OVG Arena Alliance. (Oak View Group is an investor in SportTechie.)

“Mobile devices have transformed fans of professional sports and live events into some of our most talented content creators, and have enabled an unprecedented level of engagement for arena operators,” said Dan Griffis, president of OVG’s global partnerships, in a press release.

The KodakOne platform and its accompanying cyrptocurrency, KodakCoin, are operated by Wenn Digital, a brand licensee of parent Eastman Kodak Company.

“We want to introduce the KodakOne Platform to a creative audience that we believe will both benefit from its functionality and serve as early adopters,” Jan Denecke, CEO of Wenn Digital, said in the release “The KodakOne Platform is being designed specifically to enable users to upload, register and share their work, as well as be compensated for it in certain instances. Given the millions of fantastic live event photographs generated each year at OVG’s Arena Alliance venues, this was a natural place for us to start.” 

SportTechie Takeaway

Earlier this year, Kodak made a big bet on blockchain, drawing suspicions from some corners of the market—a New York Times headline deemed the move “dubious.” In that story, the company’s CEO, Jeff Clarke, said that this was “a real solution around digital rights management that Kodak has been involved in for many years.” Photographers have long had difficulty proving ownership, identifying copyright violations and receiving appropriate royalties.

This creative use of blockchain appears to have merits, both inside and outside of the sports industry, to make a wider inventory of quality images and videos available to news publications, advertisers and other promoters while ensuring the provenance of each media creation.