Non-fungible tokens have become a new source of profit for sports leagues and their millions of fans.
After major deals were signed, the Staples Center was renamed Crypto.com Arena and Miami’s main sports venue is now called FTX Arena. You can now see a small FTX logo on all Major League Baseball umpires’ uniforms. Sports stars such as Serena Williams, LeBron James and Tom Brady are often seen promoting blockchain technology.
However, there is one piece of technology that is becoming increasingly central to the sports cryptocurrency game: non-fungible tokens (NFTs). They are everywhere – Deloitte predicts that the sports market will generate more than $2 billion in NFT sales this year. Here’s what NFTs and sports look like.
Trading cards and collectible NFTs
In this article we will look at the current state of NFTs and what they mean for collectors and sports fans, and how some athletes are using NFTs to generate revenue.
NBA top shots. Digital moments to collect
The National Basketball Association (NBA) has partnered with Dapper Labs, the creators of the ERC-721 standard and the viral game CryptoKitties, to create NBA Top Shot, one of the largest platforms of collectible NFT cards. Unlike CryptoKitties, which runs on Ethereum’s blockchain network, NBA Top Shot runs on Dapper Labs’ proprietary blockchain network, Flow.
Top Shot, in which players can buy and trade digital assets representing certain moments in the history of the sport, small video clips of famous NBA plays. Users can buy packs of these digital assets, which are virtual versions of the trading card packs of yesteryear.
Since its launch in February 2021, Top Shot has generated sales of $886 million. However, the game’s popularity has long since peaked, and sales figures have been steadily declining ever since.
NFL keeps pace with NFL All Day
Dapper Labs has also signed an agreement with the National Football League. The NFL’s NFT game is called NFL All Day and is similar to NBA Top Shot.
Like NBA Top Shot, NFL All Day is a trading card game in which users can collect “collectible icons” and sell them in an in-game marketplace. The game, currently in closed beta and accessible only by invitation from the NFL, will be open to the public by the end of Super Bowl LVI (to be held Feb. 13 at SoFi Arena in Los Angeles). The NFL plans to distribute NFL All Day NFTs at Super Bowl LVI to promote its launch.
Dapper Labs, the CryptoKitties company, continued its expansion through a partnership with Ultimate Fighting Championship. NFTs of UFC fighters were launched Jan. 23 on UFC Strike “ufcstrike.com,” complete with audio clips of the fighters’ screams and broken bones. Again, this is based on “packages” of virtual NFT clips, which can be sold on a proprietary marketplace. The first set of packets, which cost $50 each, put 100,000 NFTs into the economy.
Sorare has created a soccer-based trading card game called Sorare, which also functions as a European fantasy soccer league. The game is similar to Top Shot, a soccer-based trading card game, only in this case it has the official license of 215 clubs, including titans Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.
According to CryptoSlam, Sorare is the 16th most popular game, with $202 million in all-time sales.
NFT version tickets and memorabilia
NFTs purchasable directly from the athlete
Trading NFTs from these platforms is not the only way to get your hands on valuable non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Some athletes have gone directly to market, selling NFTs through platforms such as Nifty Gateway and OpenSea. German professional soccer player Mesut Ozil sold avatars on Nifty Gateway, and recently retired Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady sold his NFT collection on Autograph, a marketplace he co-founded. Brady’s collection, released in December, grossed $1.3 million in less than 10 minutes. Other famous athletes who have NFT on Autograph include Tony Hawk.
For athletes, selling NFT is a way to make the most of their fame and popularity. Many professional sports icons, including German professional soccer player Mesut Özil, retired Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, and Tony Hawk, Simone Biles, and Wayne Gretzky. have sold virtual assets on NFT platforms such as Autograph.
What is Autograph
Autograph is a platform that allows athletes to sell real tickets, such as those for sporting events and concerts, digitally. The platform is based on blockchain technology and was launched last year by a team of ecosystem creators from around the world: the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia-Pacific.
In the future, NFTs could become collectibles and even function as a form of investment. For example, AlphaWallet tokenized 20,000 FIFA tickets for participants in Super Bowl LVI. Attendees will not only be able to attend the big game in person, but will also receive a unique NFT based on their ticket, although it remains to be seen whether they will function as mere keepsakes or evolve beyond souvenir status.
NFTs are not only useful for collecting, but are also useful as digital sports tickets, where the premise of a unique digital asset is particularly important. NFTs could eliminate scalpers selling fakes or, conversely, leverage the 24/7 cryptocurrency economy to give rise to a more efficient market in pricing tickets based on demand.
Can an autograph exist in an NFT version?
Can autographs be considered NFT? Can sports tickets and autographs be considered NFT? “Yes, there are certain characteristics of a signature that make it a virtual asset” “For example, if someone receives a signature from LeBron James or Cristiano Ronaldo, this is definitely a virtual asset.” But not all signatures are saleable as NFTs.
NFTs are just a start
With so many top athletes selling their tokens and so many other ways to obtain them, the future of NFTs looks bright. The potential uses are vast and are just beginning to be explored. NFTs are not going anywhere-they seem destined to continue to grow in popularity, and given what they can offer, they are worth examining sooner rather than later. And if the number of athletes who have entered the industry is any indication, it seems that the NFT trade will become an increasingly popular aspect of collecting. After all, in a space where anything goes, why not stand out?
With the growing popularity of NFTs and potential uses still being explored, it is clear that they are here to stay. Their ability to provide a new way to collect makes them an exciting prospect, and their potential use as an asset class will make them even more attractive.