Here's your weekly review on what happened at the intersection of NFTs and Sports:
- 🏍️ MotoGP launches Hot Shots, UEFA partners with Topps
- 🏀 SLAM sells on Autograph, first NFT for the 2022 Asian Games
- 🏉 Rugby League World Cup NFTs, big investment for new RECUR platform
Let's have a closer look! 👀
🏍️ MotoGP launches Hot Shots, UEFA partners with Topps
After already having launched their first digital collectibles series earlier this year, MotoGP is now expanding from "static items" to video highlights, which they call Hot Shots (sounds a liiiiittle bit like NBA Top Shot, doesn't it?). Hot Shots are "unique collectible video NFTs distilled from the highlight reels of the best MotoGP racing moments". Naming aside, this seems to be a really good move, as they now cover both player card style NFTs as well as highlight clips. The sale will "start on 28 September 2021, and it will be broken into 3 segments; each segment will be held at a different time range and will have 2,000 packs on sale".
The next news was a bit of a surprise for us: UEFA and Topps not only extend their partnership for physical collectibles, but they also extend it to the field of NFTs. This covers UEFA Champions League & Europa League, UEFA Women's Champions League, as well as this year’s inaugural UEFA Conference League. No further details were revealed. Why was this surprising? Well, because Topps recently lost their "bread and butter" license deal with the MLB (see issue 22) which existed for more than 70 years, which lead to the downfall of their planned IPO and Moody's downgrading them to B2 status, about midway on its scale of non-investment grade debt. This means the UEFA deal was a crucial one for them and might be decisive for the future of the company. However, we still wonder what the capabilities of Topps in the field of NFTs are. Their not so successful endeavour with the MLB was done via partner WAX and all the other big leagues and organisations tend to go for collaborations with specialised tech partners. So let's see how this one develops...
🏀 SLAM sells on Autograph, first NFT for the 2022 Asian Games
Tom Brady's Autograph platform has signed yet another good deal: This time it's with basketball brand SLAM to "create and distribute digital-collectible content on DraftKings Marketplace. As a launch partner for their basketball vertical, Autograph users will have access to SLAM’s 300-plus cover archive dating back to 1994, featuring some of the greatest basketball players over the last three decades". SLAM has tested the NFT waters earlier this year with a Zion Williamson collaboration (see issue 4), with a semi-successful outcome, as sales numbers were not as high as probably expected. Our take: We think it's a smart move to use the distribution power of Autograph and DraftKings as well as the decision to go with the entire cover archive, which ensures fans, collectors and investors that this is a one-of-a-kind collection including some truly historic covers. We expect this one to run well.
Speaking of successful drops: The first official NFT for the 2022 Asian Games were issued in China via the Alipay platform. The 20,000 NFTs featuring the event's 3D digital torch were priced at 39 yuan($6.05) each and sold out within seconds. This is a significant move for China who has been very restrictive when it comes to cryptocurrency trading, an area that is highly regulated in the country. It signals that NFTs are seen separately from pure crypto trading, indicating that a massive market is about to open up. We'll keep our eyes on it.
🏉 Rugby League World Cup NFTs, big investment for new RECUR platform
The Rugby League World Cup has announced NuArca Labs as their official NFT partner, creating the "first official NFT marketplace in the history of Rugby League". As the statement says "fans will be able to participate in quests, earn experiences and collect a range of NFT drops with digital collectibles celebrating the history, heroes, nations, milestones and achievements of the second oldest World Cup in sporting history". No further details were disclosed.
And then there was news that NFT company RECUR has raised a $50m Series A round on a $333m valuation. Amongst the investors is billionaire Steve Cohen. Why this is relevant? Together with AI technology partner Veritone the company will introduce "NFTU, a marketplace that will allow sports fans to own highlights from college sports, starting with the Pac-12", that for example brings in some of the most prestigious colleges in American Football. Let's see on which other licenses they spend the funding one...
🤓 Wrapping it up
So what have we learned in this issue?
- Highlight clips will likely be a must-have in the NFT portfolio of rights holders, with MotoGP being the next one to enter this area. But we're still waiting for the NFL, soccer leagues and others to follow. Maybe the extended UEFA and Topps partnership will be next?
- Context is king/queen, is true in the NFT world as well. While China is not so hot on pure crpyto trading, it seems like NFTs are a different story and might act as a substitute for some of it. That aside, it obviously opens the doors to a huge and financially lucrative market.
- New players keep entering the (still very early) market, despite some the consolidation tendencies that we see here and there (as some dominant players emerge). Good to see the Rugby League World Cup and RECUR with new initiatives.
That's it for this weeks issue! And as always: Feel free to reach out for feedback and to discuss all things NFT and sports! And to stay up to date: Make sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter for stats, drop announcements and more. And join us on our Discord server to discuss the latest news and insights about NFTs in sports.