Here's your weekly review on what happened at the intersection of NFTs and Sports:
- 👟 Nike and adidas go Metaverse
- 🏈 NFL partners with Panini for NFT cards
- 🏓 World Table Tennis announces first NFT
Let's have a closer look! 👀
👟 Nike and adidas go Metaverse
Facebook has clearly kicked off some hype around all things Metaverse. And it didn't take long for two of the sports industry's premium brands to double down on the topic as well.
First it was Nike who announced a partnership with Roblox to create NIKELAND, a virtual world for Nike fans to connect, create, share experiences and compete. According to Nike these are the five things to know about the initiative:
- Buildings and fields inspired by Nike's real-life headquarters. With the NIKELAND tool kit, creators can easily design their own mini-games from interactive sports materials
- Visitors can use accelerometers in their mobile devices to transfer offline movement to online play.
- A digital showroom allows you to outfit your NIKELAND avatar with special Nike products.
- NIKELAND is free for anyone to visit and experience on Roblox, breaking down one of the biggest barriers to sport — access
- The digital world will come to life at Nike’s House of Innovation (HOI) in New York City via Snapchat
And just a few days later it became clear that adidas partners with both Coinbase and Sandbox. While details were not disclosed yet, a spokesman for Adidas told CityAM that the Coinbase partnership is part of adidas’s strategy to gain a foothold in the metaverse. The spokesman said: “The Metaverse is currently one of the most exciting developments in digital, making it an interesting platform for Adidas”.
Our take: These are exciting news! Both brands seem to have chosen their virtual world partners, with Roblox and Sandbox respectively. While this is not exactly NFT news yet, it's not hard to predict that we'll see lots of NFT based virtual items to be purchased, traded and of course worn in the metaverse. Anyone still thinking this is a fad? Virtual worlds are also a really good way for Nike and adidas to test different design variants and only produce the popular ones for the real world. We also like Nike's approach of rewarding real-life movement with online goods. The opportunities seem to be endless.
🏈 NFL partners with Panini for NFT cards
The NFL took a while to decide on their strategy and most importantly their partners for their NFT initiatives. Then, a few weeks ago they announced a partnership with Dapper Labs for NFT based highlight clips. And now, the league has partnered with Panini America for player card NFTs. The NFL NFT trading cards program will launch with Panini America’s popular Mosaic brand on December 1. Prizm and Donruss Optic NFL NFT trading cards will follow in January and February, respectively.
Our take: An understandable decision by the NFL. Firstly, because covering highlight clips AND player cards will likely develop into the standard setup for every rights holder, secondly because Panini is a large and established player in the market. And so far it's basically just Sorare who has emerged as one of the blue chips when it comes to player cards. And they only cover soccer as of now.
🏓 World Table Tennis announces first NFT
And almost as usual already, we do feature one story that comes from a rather unexpected area. This time it's World Table Tennis (WTT), the commercial and events arm of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), who announced the first licensed table tennis NFT. This item, the so-called "First Ball!", is up for auction on OpenSea, with a reserve price has set to 0.2021 Eth, in honour of the 2021 World Championships that for the first time take place in the U.S.
Our take: Well, we appreciate the efforts, especially when coming from smaller organisations. But this one is a little bit too uncreative, as the item is not connected to any other benefits than just owning it. Also the art itself does not impress us too much. And the availability of only one item keeps many fans out of this initiative. So let's assume it's just a first test :)
🤓 Wrapping it up
So what have we learned in this issue?
- The metaverse is inevitable. Whether we like the idea of spending a significant amount of time in virtual worlds or not, it clearly seems to be the future. While earlier versions (Second Life, anyone?) were ahead of our time, it now seems to have come, as both the technology and major brands are ready for a big push. Nike and adidas committing early is a clear sign and in our opinion a very smart move. And NFTs will play a big role within their plans
- Player cards and highlight clips will become the default setup. The only question that seems to remain: Who's gonna lead the race in the respective categories? And will there be one company covering both? So far the front runners focused on just one category, with the exception of Sorare, who will test highlight clip waters with the DFL. The NFL however, decided to go with a two partner approach with Dapper Labs and Panini.
- NFTs can easily be created, but should they? World Table Tennis has shown us that it doesn't take much to put an NFT on OpenSea, but will it be successful? Well, while the item itself doesn't look like a very creative one and it might not generate a significant revenue, but we are sure that they gain some interesting insights and, of course, some PR. Only the organisation itself can decide if that's worth the efforts.
And 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! 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.