Sports and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT): A match made on a blockchain

As Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) rise in popularity, famous sports personalities get involved in the new industry to cash in on the opportunity.
Sport NFT player cards from Sorare

Key Takeawasy

  • The rising popularity of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) has spread to the world of sport
  • Many athletes are tying up with platforms to release their digital collectibles
  • Startups and blockchain platforms raise millions of dollars to enter the race

YEREVAN (CoinChapter.com) — Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have taken the world by storm. The rise of various cryptocurrencies since the launch of Bitcoin (BTC) in 2009 has changed the world of business and finance. As a result, the concept of digital currency, albeit faced with strong opposition, has risen in popularity. 

Game-changing ideas spread by the advance of blockchain technologies, like the concept of transferring money without the involvement of a bank or forming self-executing contracts, have changed the future of the global financial systems.

Rising in popularity among the new technology is Non-Fungible Tokens.

As the concept of NFTs continues to spread like wildfire on the various blockchains, one industry does not want to lose out on the billion-dollar opportunity.

Sports and NFTs are proving to be the next big thing out there. 

As Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) rise in popularity, famous sports personalities get involved in the new industry to cash in on the opportunity.
Top NFT Projects in Collectibles, Sports, and Arts. Credit: Kyros Ventures

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Sports meets NFT, love at first sight

When it comes to sports, nothing matches the craze of its fans. People go to extreme lengths to show their support for their favorite sportsperson or their favorite team. What’s more, people spend lavishly on sporting events, tickets, and merchandise.

Sports fans go wild about owning sports collectibles, from posters to signed cards, t-shirts, balls, bats, and anything and everything to do with sports. NFTs now offer a new digitized way of collecting sports memorabilia. 

Non-Fungible Tokens also present a great money-making opportunity for the sports industry. It represents a new way for fans to get involved with their favorite teams, sportspeople, wins, and special moments on and off the turf.

In 2020, the global sports market reached a value of nearly $388.3 billion. It has the potential to reach $599.9 billion by 2025 and $826.0 billion by 2030.

With over 8,00 kinds of sports played worldwide, it is no wonder that NFTs are becoming the new cash cow for the industry.

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Companies raise millions for sports NFT projects

Despite the cryptocurrency markets facing a dump, sports NFT projects show no signs of slowing down.

Just days back, French NFT trading card game platform Sorare raised $680 million. The company has built a fantasy soccer platform based on non-fungible tokens and runs on the Ethereum blockchain. Fans and players on the platform buy, sell, trade, and manage a virtual team with digital cards.

Another popular basketball collectibles platform, Dapper Labs, raised $250 million. Thanks to the investment, the platform will now expand beyond Basketball, partnering with some big names in the world of sports.

Miami-based company RECUR also raised $50 million in July to develop a sports-based NFT marketplace. Among its major investors is Steve Cohen, who owns the New York Mets, a Major League Baseball team based in New York City. As a result, Cohen has also joined the company’s Board of Directors. 

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Some of the biggest sporting stars float NFTs

The world of digital sports memorabilia keeps expanding, bringing with it iconic sports heroes into the NFT universe.

Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady entered the space and launched his NFT platform called Autograph

His company boasts of enrolling sports legends such as Tiger Woods, Tony Hawk, Naomi Osaka, Derek Jeter, Simone Biles, and Wayne Gretzky.

Not only this, but he also successfully roped in Usain Bolt, the celebrated athlete dubbed the world’s fastest man.

Sports NFTs, however, has not remained confined in the United States. 

In Australia, the NFT trading platform Sportemon Go is popularising non-fungible tokens by signing up some of the biggest sporting names in Australia. Former National Cricket team captain Adam Gilchrist, Rugby legend Wendell Sailor and MMA fighter John Wayne Parr have joined the space.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Rob Gronkowski partnered with non-fungible tokens marketplace OpenSea to release five digital trading cards featuring Super Bowl moments.

NBA NFTs are also big in the market. 

Brooklyn Nets player Kevin Durant, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo are some basketball stars selling hot on specialized NBA collectibles platform TopShots. 

In March, Football star Cristiano Ronaldo NFT sold for $290,000 on Sorare, while former English footballer Michel Owen partnered with TopGoalNFT. 

OpenSea launched MMA fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov’s NFT Platinum Cards.

Ethernity launched NFTs with popular Argentine football star Lionel Messi under its ‘Messiverse’ collection earlier this year. The collection sold out in an hour, generating around $3.2 million in sales. 

A rare player card of footballer David Beckham is also on sale for 200 Ethereum (ETH) on the OpenSea.

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Platforms rush to join the trend

After the initial successes of Sports NFTS, many athletes are catching up on the idea. For example, defending Wimbledon champion, Naomi Osaka, launched her NFTs on BasicSpace, with one going as high as $200,000. 

An NFT representing Andy Murray’s win at Wimbledon 2013 sold for $177,777 at auction in July. To sell his series of collectibles representing his Wimbledon victory, Murray partnered with NFT platform WENEW.

With the rising trend, sports brands and sporting leagues are launching their NFT marketplaces.

UFC has launched its NFT platform for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Candy Digital for baseball, while CricketCrazy.io and RARIO want to take the cricket world by storm, etc.

Other NFT platforms have also successfully roped in lucrative partnerships. 

Solana-based platform Blockasset is not staying behind the race. Football stars like Giorgio Chiellini, captain of Juventus and the Italy national team, and French legend David Trezeguet have signed a partnership with the platform.

Singapore-based public blockchain Zilliqa has partnered with Comubian football star James Rodríguez to release the star’s NFTs, while Green Bay Packers star Aaron Jones has signed an endorsement deal with FTX. The star will reportedly get paid for his services in cryptocurrency.

With Non-Fungible Tokens s called the future of fine art collecting, it has already become mainstream. However, there is no doubt that NFTs are here to disrupt the ecosystem.

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