Here's your weekly review on what happened at the intersection of NFTs and Sports:
- 🏈 NFL partners with Dapper Labs, MLB Topps is back
- ♟️ Chess trophies for Meltwater Champions by Magnus Carlsen
- 📊 Monthly stats overview: Sorare, Top Shot, Topps MLB
Let's have a closer look! 👀
🏈 NFL partners with Dapper Labs, MLB Topps is back
They have finally done it: The NFL, the NFL Players Association and Dapper Labs announced a collaboration to create video highlight NFTs, similar to the ones known from NBA Top Shot. According to the announcement the "NFT experience launches later this season and will take fandom to the next level with access to amazing features, fan activations and community engagement that place fans at the center of epic NFL game action". So our prediction from issue 23 wasn't so bad after all ;)
This collaboration is primed to be successful and we're looking forward to the launch of the project (and we'll definitely try to snag some packs/moments ourselves as well...).
While the NFL x Dapper news was an expected one, the next news came as a surprise: Topps announced to launch Series 2 of their MLB NFT collaboration. To give some context: The long lasting relationship between the two will expire in a few years and the MLB will move on with Fanatics as their collectible partner (see issue 22). That was after the Topps MLB NFT initiative debuted earlier this year, with a rather rough start from a tech perspective, followed by disappointing sales numbers. So it was our bet that they won't utilise this asset anymore, as the last few months went by without any further drops. So why put more effort into this? Well, it seems like Topps (and potentially also the MLB) are convinced that they can still create some revenue out of this, with a currently red-hot NFT market and the baseball season still running. Another interesting thing to note is that they seem to have changed their tech partner, moving from WAX to Avalanche which is used for Topps' platform.
Topps Digital's Gino Ferrazzano said:
“What we found is that, because we had a bit more of an aggressive release schedule and we wanted more of an aggressive cadence to release new content, it made sense to eventually move to our own platform. [Topps is] also allowing credit card transactions versus converting money to WAX and then buying the packs. So, I think this will definitely be a different experience, for sure, just because it is on our own platform.”
♟️ Chess trophies for Meltwater Champions by Magnus Carlsen
The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour has introduced a novelty: The winner of the tournament will get an NFT trophy and a second edition of the trophy will go on auction, so that one fan, collector or investor will own the same piece as the champion. On top of the trophy edition there are some other ones launching on top, all named after chess figures, e.g. the "Queen series", "The Pawn series" "The Bishop series, which come with different perks. The Queen series is the clear highlight and includes an online meeting with and game against one of the grandmasters from the final, the game minted as an NFT, an image of the winning move on canvas, signed by the grandmaster. The platform behind all this is ChessChamps.io, run by grandmaster and entrepreneur Magnus Carlsen's Play Magnus Group. Our take: A well-designed introduction for NFTs in chess that holds some interesting packages especially for chess fans, well done!
📊 Monthly stats overview: Sorare, Top Shot, Topps MLB
And it's time for our monthly stats look-back again, in which we compare the top NFT platforms by the big sports leagues:
And there's good news coming from Sorare: With all major leagues in full swing the platform can benefit sales wise: A 34% increase secures an all-time record month for Sorare, with almost $20m in sales. This is fantastic news, followed shortly after last week's big funding round. The numbers almost bring Sorare on Top Shot levels: A weak month in the league's off-season brought sales down to a bit above the $20m mark, but the decrease compared to last month was significant with about -46%. They probably can't wait to kick off the season this month. Topps MLB had another very weak month, let's see if their second drop can turn things around (see above). While all numbers for MLB Topps and Top Shot are red this month, Sorare also manages to grow the number of transactions, and, even more important, the number of unique buyers significantly. Good signs for the upcoming months!
🤓 Wrapping it up
So what have we learned in this issue?
- We can't say it often enough: Choose your NFT partner wisely. While the MLB is moving from project to project and partner to partner, the NFL took their time to sort things out and decided to go with the obvious route: A highlight clip partnership with Dapper Labs. They didn't rush it to have the platform ready for the beginning of the season, knowing that this is a long-time play anyways. Sometimes it's better not to be the first mover.
- NFT drops should be tailored to specific audiences. And in our opinion the ChessChamps.io platform is doing exactly that. Creating two champion trophies, of which one can be bought is a nice idea, but what we really like is the content of the packages, e.g. getting the final move of a specific game on a canvas that is also signed by a grandmaster, or even the opportunity to play against one. As often it's in the details.
- Sorare is on a run. After some tricky month it seems that the platform has managed a turn-around. When looking for the reasons it's probably fair to say that it's a mix of many: The season in full swing, many more team partnerships signed and the positive sentiment in the overall NFT market, with many new people joining the scene. A giant in the making!
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.