If NFTs have already taken the art world by storm, it is more complicated to imagine them taking a significant place in the sports world. And yet, more and more connections are being made between NFTs and sports such as soccer, basketball or American soccer. How is the sport benefiting from this new trend?
NFTs, literally non-fungible tokens, are certificates of ownership of digital objects, ranging from works of art to video game items, and have been driving the fintech world for several months. Recently, NFTs have moved from art and fashion to other fields, in this case, the world of sports.
But this connection raises many questions: How can the sports world represent an opportunity for NFTs ? What do these digital assets represent in a physical world? It’s hard to imagine digital certificates that use the blockchain to authenticate their ownership intervening in this field.
Game clips sold for thousands of dollars
It was a complete surprise when it was discovered that a digital platform was born, allowing fans of the National Basketball Association (NBA) to buy and trade video clips of games. Indeed, it is rather disconcerting to see fans paying for game clips available for free online.
Approved by the NBA, these clips were sold as NFTs, via the NBA Top Shot platform. Some clips were purchased or traded for tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars. One of the clips, filming the famous LeBron James offering a dunk in memory of Kobe Bryant, who tragically lost his life on January 26, 2020, was acquired for nearly $387,000.
Same arena. Same basket. Same dunk. 19 years apart. ?? pic.twitter.com/fj7HRmqv3c
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 8, 2020
While the clips can be viewed online, what buyers are interested in is mostly ownership. While anyone is free to view this video online for free, only the purchaser of the NFT of the excerpt can boast ownership. These assets thus redefine the principle of ownership by transposing it into the digital world.
Given the success of the platform, which was launched in October 2020, the company behind it, Dapper Labs, has decided not to stop there. Indeed, cryptocurrency company Dapper Labs announced Wednesday that it has raised nearly $250 million, and has reached an agreement with Spanish elite division LaLiga to expand its service to soccer.
Dapper Labs, also the founder of the Flow blockchain, also said it plans to “continue to scale and support additional major sports-, entertainment- and music-based, brand-driven products to be brought online and developed on the Flow blockchain.”
The NFT success was also not lost on sneaker manufacturer Nike, which was launching CryptoKicks in late 2019. This innovation allows the customer of a pair of CryptoKicks sneakers to simultaneously obtain a digital token certifying the authenticity of the shoe, even if it is resold. A digital model of the pair is associated with the token, which together form a CryptoKick.
Finally, NFTs can be used in the sports world through online games. The example of the game Sorare, where players take on the role of managers and buy and sell footballers to build a team, is particularly striking. The star player Cristiano Ronaldo is available in only one copy and is reportedly worth nearly $290,000.
Featured Photo : © NBA
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