Sport-themed NFT firms raise over $900 million in funding

NFT Image by A M Hasan Nasim from Pixabay
NFT Image by A M Hasan Nasim from Pixabay

Key Takeaways:

  • Demand for NFTs, digital tokens that represent ownership of a virtual asset, is growing rapidly.
  • Dapper Labs, creator of NBA-based digital asset platform Top Shot, raised $250 million in funding.
  • Another NFT-based firm, Sorare, raised $680 million in a funding round.

NEW DELHI ( — The NFT market is growing with investor interest in cryptocurrency industries rises with the expanding crypto market. Two NFT related startups raised a combined $930 million in funding this week even as funding in crypto and blockchain-related startups almost tripled from the 2020s $6.4 billion to reach $19 billion so far.

NFT sales reached a record $2.5 billion in the early half of 2021. The year also saw the most expensive Non-Fungible Token by the artist Beeple, sold for $60 million at Christie’s auction, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet sold for $2.9 million.

Sports-Themed NFTs? Game On

NFTs are slowly becoming a go-to choice for sports organizations to launch collectibles. Fans are already willing to pay top dollar for physical merchandise and memorabilia. Given the recent digital collectibles market growth, it seems the same devotion has transferred to digital merch as well.

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Manchester City, an English Premier League football team, launched two collections of NFTs. In addition, many clubs have launched digital tokens that allow fans to participate in voting for certain minor club decisions.

This week, Dapper Labs raised $250 million in a funding round led by Coatue, Wall Street investment firm Bond, and GIC, a Singapore-based sovereign wealth fund. In addition, Dapped Labs created Top Shot, a platform where NBA fans can buy, sell, and trade numbered versions of officially licensed video highlights. The NFT firm is now valued at $7.6 billion.

Sorare is a French fantasy soccer game that also has NFTs in it. The firm raised $680 million in a funding round led by Softbank, alongside Investment firms D1 Capital and Eurazeo.

Meanwhile, the latest cash infusion raises Sorare’s value to $4.3 billion, making it the most valuable private tech firm in France.

You put them (physical collectibles) in an album and that’s nice but it’s kind of limiting. When you translate it to NFTs in the digital world, there’s many more things which you can do, like using them in a game for instance. But you also have provable scarcity, which is very appealing to collectors.

Nicolas Julia, CEO and co-founder of Sorare on NFTs

Dapper Labs has expanded to football, partnering with Spanish soccer league LaLiga to create NFT collectibles. A soccer-themed version of Dapper’s Top Shot platform may likely be a possible outcome. The partnership will allow fans to own NFTs from over ten seasons.

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LaLiga has teams like Real Madric, FC Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid which have a huge international fanbase. The NFTs for LaLiga will become available to Dapper’s Flow blockchain in the second quarter of 2022.

What Are Non-Fungible Tokens?

An NFT has a digital asset, such as an image, video, audio, or a tweet tied to it. A blockchain records details of NFT ownership, allowing anyone to verify the asset’s authenticity and ownership. While digital assets can be easily copied, their digital signature can verify an NFT’s uniqueness.

The Non-Fungible Token market cap is currently over $31.6 billion, with increased investor interest highlighting its stature as the next big thing in crypto. However, like other aspects of crypto markets, NFTs are vulnerable to miscreants too. For example, OpenSea, a digital asset marketplace, confessed to insider trading on its platform last week.

Not only sports but art-related NFTs are popular as well. Digital art is in huge demand due to its novelty, and more artists are giving it a shot. In addition, by selling art directly to those interested, artists can monetize their work without selling it in a gallery.

Mainstream interest in the digital arts and collectibles market is strong too, with Visa announcing is $150,000 NFT purchase in August. With the increasing hype, it is logical to expect more digital assets for sale and the market to grow.

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