Here's your weekly review on what happened at the intersection of NFTs and Sports:
- ⚽ OneFootball launches Aera, UEFA swaps Panini for Topps
- 🤝 MLB with NFT tickets via Candy, ESPN partners with Autograph
- 📊 Monthly stats: Top Shot, Sorare, MLB Topps
Let's have a closer look! 👀
⚽ OneFootball launches Aera, UEFA swaps Panini for Topps
OneFootball has announced the launch of "Area", a new football NFT marketplace, with officially licensed collectibles of football clubs, leagues, federations and players. For this endeavour the company has partnered with industry heavyweights Animoca Brands and Dapper Labs. The Genesis Drop (happening end of April) is part of the HATTTRICKS Series in which users can collect a set of THREE to get a reward NFT. Players include Raphaël Varane, Alphonso Davies, Robin Gosens, Sadio Mané and Marc ter Stegen. More drops and players have already been lined up and will be released over the next weeks and months. According to the website the NFT journey of OneFootball will ultimately lead to a virtual Footballverse experience.
And there are more news from the soccer NFT world: "Trading card company Topps has signed a deal to become an official Uefa licensing partner for the 2024 European Championships national team soccer tournament. The agreement will see Topps, which was acquired by Fanatics for a reported US$500 million in January, exclusively provide official stickers, trading cards and collectables connected to Euro 2024. The partnership also covers the European soccer body’s national team competitions up to Euro 2028, including the Nations League Finals and Women’s Euro 2025. Topps is already the official partner of the Uefa Champions League and the lower tier continental club competitions in the licensing category. Topps takes over the national team tournament partnership from Panini, while its new owner Fanatics already runs official fan shops at major Uefa tournaments."
🤝 MLB with NFT tickets via Candy, ESPN partners with Autograph
"MLB and Candy Digital will release commemorative NFT tickets for games throughout the upcoming season. The non-fungible tokens won’t serve as means for admission into a game, but rather as a digital keepsake for fans in a post-paper ticket world. Sales on Candy Digital of MLB’s Standard Game Ticket NFTs will be limited to fans who bought tickets to attend the game affiliated with that NFT. (...) MLB’s NFT tickets will also feature that ticket’s seat number and mention of a club sponsor in some cases. The New York Mets and San Francisco Giants are among 10 MLB clubs who will additionally gift season-ticket NFTs to their season-ticket holders. The complimentary NFTs will update throughout the season with that team’s record and scores from each game. MLB’s third NFT ticket offering will be in the form of gameday giveaways. All 30 clubs will be able to offer commemorative NFTs to two games this season (...) Only fans in attendance at the ballpark will be eligible to receive that game’s themed NFT."
"ESPN and Autograph (...) today announced a multi-year deal for ESPN’s first NFT. The collaboration kicks off with a NFT collection based on Man in the Arena: Tom Brady, the 10-part ESPN+ documentary series produced by Religion of Sports, a media company in which Brady is also a co-founder. The “Man in the Arena: Tom Brady Collection,” designed in partnership with Autograph and Religion of Sports, drops April 6, and is exclusively available to view on Autograph.io and for sale on DraftKings Marketplace. The first NFT release coincides with the documentary becoming more widely available for fans to watch across the entire Disney Bundle – ESPN+, Hulu and Disney+ – for a limited time."
📊 Monthly stats: Top Shot, Sorare, MLB Topps
Here's our monthly overview of the NFT offerings of the most important sports leagues.
And this month it's pretty easy: We see a significant decline all over the board, with all platform losing between 27 and 38%. NBA Top Shot is suffering the most, with not only a 38% decline in total sales, but also a massive drop in unique buyers with minus 44%. Maybe the tax season in the U.S. plays a role here ;) Let's hope Q2 is off to a better start!
🤓 Wrapping it up
So what have we learned in this week's issue?
- Entry-barriers are getting higher and higher. The established players are capturing more and more of the market when it comes to the licensing business and have reached a size that is hard to compete with for newcomers. Fanatics is eating deals for breakfast, either under their own brand or via Candy Digital or the newly acquired Topps. Also Autograph is developing well and can secure another big deal with ESPN. It will be hard to break into this league for companies that are only starting now.
- Partner with the big guns. OneFootball, the leading global soccer platform with over 100m monthly users, is entering the NFT market with an interesting partnership setup, as the company is joining forces with Animoca Brands and Dapper Labs, giving the project a fantastic base to start from. Especially as OneFootball's shareholders include some of the most prolific football clubs on the planet, which is without a doubt a valuable asset for rolling out a new project. Definitely an interesting mix. We're curious about their upcoming Genesis Drop and where they'll be able to take it!
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.