It’s hard to step into the sports world and not spot cryptocurrency.
Athletes like Tom Brady often mention FTX after taking a stake in the crypto firm in 2021. The home of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, the Staples Center, was renamed the Crypto.Com Arena in Fall 2021 after a 20-year naming rights deal was struck.
But NFTs remain one of the hottest examples of the marriage between the crypto and sports world. The latest statistics only suggest NFTs will continue to open up significant revenue streams for the sports industry.
Deloitte predicted in December 2021 how by the end of 2022, 4-5 million sports fans will have bought or been gifted an NFT sports collectible. The multinational predicted sports media NFTs would generate at least $2 billion in transactions in the same year.
According to Deliotte, the most potentially lucrative opportunity within the sports world would be the sale of exclusive player cards of limited-edition video clips of iconic sports moments.
A number of projects are already well on their way to establishing their foothold within the NFT world and the sports industry. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the top projects and their impact.
NBA Top Shot
Most crypto enthusiasts and casual sports fans alike have most likely at least heard of NBA Top Shot, one of the largest crypto trading card games. The fruit of collaboration between the basketball league and Dapper Labs, users can purchase virtual renditions of short video clips of iconic NBA moments and then buy, sell, and trade on a secondary market. While many of the largest NFT sales took place in the months after the initial launch in 2021, February 2022 still saw Top Shot revenue reach $47.5 million.
Soccer enthusiasts have transformed Sorare into a top sports-related NFT project by building digital teams based on player cards. As each card can be bought, sold, and traded as a NFT, users know building better teams can lead to lucrative prizes as they win competitions. As of Spring 2022, Sorare had collected the official licenses of at least 230 clubs spread across 39 leagues, including soccer heavyweights like Real Madrid and Liverpool.
Knights Of Degen
Sports fanatics have found a home with the Knights of Degen, an NFT project at the intersection of digital technology and sports betting. The collection of 8,888 futuristic NFT ‘degenerate gamblers’ is created from more than 188 possible traits and exist in the year 2088 to bet on sports, trade, and share alpha within the famed Degen Tavern medieval sports bar.
Every holder receives Discord access and special community information like daily sports betting tips. The Knights of Degen community has made waves due to the influence of advisors, like former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, and the purchase of a team inside the Fan-Controlled Football League in October 2021.
Following in the footsteps of the popular NBA Top Shot is UFC Strike, another sports-related NFT project from Dapper Labs. Launched in January 2022, users can buy packs of digital NFT clips of iconic UFC fighting moments and buy, sell, and trade on a secondary marketplace. The NFT project made about $5 million in sales in January as the first round of Strike NFTs sold out.
The growth of NFT-related sports projects only increases as more crypto companies understand how lucrative the global sports market can be. While some projects, like F1 Delta Time, have shut down due to a loss of official licensing, other projects keep gaining steam as sports teams realize the value of establishing a digital presence in the cryptocurrency world.
Additional Marriages Within NFT and Sports
NFTs have also made an impact in the sports ticketing world (see Axios) as companies realize their utility in expediting ticket sales while cutting down on the risks of fraud, scalpers, or exorbitant pricing from third-party sellers.
Many speculate esports teams will continue to engage with the NFT world and launch their own projects, opening up a world where athletes might not have to exert a lot of physical effort on a field or pitch to help drive NFT-related endeavors.
As NFTs within the sports world grow in popularity, the above four projects represent dynamic and innovative offerings who have established a solid presence in an ever-changing crypto world.