Issue 37: Nike's virtual merch, fractional collectibles, monthly stats
Here's your weekly review on what happened at the intersection of NFTs and Sports:
- 👟 Nike acquires NFT fashion and collectibles startup RTFKT
- 👾 Amazon invests in Dibbs for fractional sports collectibles
- 📊 Monthly stats: Sorare, NBA TopShot and Topps MLB
Let's have a closer look! 👀
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Before we start: This is going to be the last issue of our newsletter in 2021. We're taking some time off over the festive season but will be back in full swing in mid January. We wish all of you a great time and a fantastic start into the new year!
👟 Nike acquires NFT fashion and collectibles startup RTFKT
And the year ends with a big bang coming out of Oregon. Nike announced the acquisition of RTFKT, a "leading brand that leverages cutting edge innovation to deliver next generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming." RTFKT was only founded in 2020 but has quickly gained popularity in the NFT space, especially through their virtual sneakers, a field in which NIKE is particularly interested in. Recently RTFKT also dropped their first avatar collection, called CloneX, which consists of 20,000 characters that are ready for the metaverse.
Here's what John Donahoe, President and CEO of NIKE, had to say about the acquisition:
“This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture. We’re acquiring a very talented team of creators with an authentic and connected brand. Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities.”
Our take: A fantastic move by NIKE that should give them a head start over adidas. RTFKT has build an impressive portfolio and knowledge in the virtual sneaker and clothing space within a short amount of time and their product line and visions seem to fit perfectly to NIKE's metaverse plans. Let's see how soon we can use those RTFKT sneakers in NIKELAND :)
👾 Amazon invests in Dibbs for fractional sports collectibles
The last week also saw a move of another big brand into the NFT space: "Amazon has entered the sports collectibles space through an investment in Dibbs, a startup that created a marketplace for fractional interests in physical sports trading cards. The card is represented by NFTs, which is fractionalized. Details of the investment were not disclosed, but Dibbs raised a $13 million Series A investment in July." To ensure the authenticity and the best possible environment for the physical items, Dibbs grades the collectibles and stores them in special vaults. Only if a buyer acquires 100% of the fractionalized NFT they can request to get the physical item.
Dibbs founder and CEO Evan Vandenberg said:
“For too long, the collectibles market has been riddled with barriers to entry that render it inaccessible and inequitable. Traditional ownership has limitations that the emerging metaverse eliminates. Moving these collectibles, which genuinely represent an individual’s online persona, into the digital domain is essential for the future of ownership and identity.”
Our take: Turning physical assets into tradeable digital items that can also be fractionalized is a concept that makes a lot of sense in many ways. It increases transparency and liquidity, brings new players into the market and can make items more affordable than they were before, just to name a few advantages. Interesting though is Amazon's move into the space. Being a bit late to the physical and digital collectibles game, with other companies making big headlines already, the investment into Dibbs seems to be an interesting entry point that aligns well with Amazon's marketplace empire. It's probably not the end of the journey yet!
📊 Monthly stats: Sorare, NBA TopShot and Topps MLB
And for the last time this year we are looking at the NFT marketplace performance of the big sports leagues. Here are the November stats.
- Sorare finishes the year strong with growth in all key areas. While the transaction number stayed relatively stable, total and average sales increased by more than 20% and also the number of unique buyers went up significantly. Well done!
- Topps MLB had a good month when looking at total and average sales who increased by over 40% each, but we have to bear in mind that last month's numbers were almost at the very bottom.
- NBA Top Shot had a tough month, with total sales decreasing by almost 40%, even though transaction volume went up. It seems like they have not found a convincing approach yet, as numbers are very volatile.
🤓 Wrapping it up
So what have we learned in this issue?
- The metaverse race is on. It's one of those unique and rare moments where significant changes are about to happen, and we are still in the early days. Nike's acquisition might at some point be seen as a genius move that gave them a valuable head start over their competitors. Let's see what this news does with the industry, how other players will react and how many similar projects are going to be kicked off.
- Amazon is in the collectibles space. This is not a surprise as the sector has been booming for a while and Amazon didn't get any piece of the cake. Investing in a marketplace that is data-loaded and connects to Amazon's home turf of physical items seems to be a good starting point.
- Sorare is growing steadily, contrary to the main competitors. This brings the company at par with sales numbers of NBA TopShot, who's transaction and sales numbers keep being volatile. It seems like Sorare has found a good approach on the supply side (TopShot keeps pushing hundreds of thousands of moments into the market) and the combination with the fantasy sports game can keep players on the platform.
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.