Here's your weekly review on what happened at the intersection of NFTs and Sports:
- ⚾ MLB launches first NFT series with Topps
- 💥 The Undertaker, Damian Lillard and the "Rembrandt of Sports"
- 🥊 Triller to offer marketplace for short-form clips
⚾ MLB launches first NFT series with Topps
The top news of the week was easier to predict than a mediocre fastball: The MLB is the next big league who is trying to follow NBA Top Shot's blueprint of how to make a lot of money out of digital collectibles. The announcement was made on April 12, here are the main facts:
- The NFTs will be published in cooperation with Topps, the long-term partner of the league in physical collectibles (aka trading cards), and WAX as a tech partner on who's blockchain the NFTs will be created, sold and traded
- Series 1 of the cards launch on April 20 and will be sold in Standard Packs ($5, 6 Cards, 50,000 available) and Premium Packs ($100, 45 cards, 24,090 available)
- Cards seem to come in 8 levels: Common, Uncommon, Rare, Super Rare, Epic, Epic Exclusive, Legendary Exclusive and Event Exclusive, which is way more than on platforms like NBA Top Shot or Sorare.
Interesting is that all major NFT projects in sports now run on different blockchains:
Let's see where the NFL, NHL and others are heading!
And of course we have to mention the little beef that went down after MLB's announcement. Here's what the CEO of Dappers Labs and NBA Top Shot maker Roham Garegozlou had to say on Twitter:
So in his opinion the MLB project does not use the potential that comes with a digital product (see utility token), like Sorare who added a Fantasy Sports layer on top of their NFTs. Reactions were not so positive about Roham's tweet btw. We're enjoying the show from the sideline :)
💥 The Undertaker, Damian Lillard and the "Rembrandt of Sports"
Generally speaking the week seemed to be a lot calmer than the last one when we saw lots of athletes launching NFTs. Probably for a reason: When looking at them in our previous issue we've realised that many of them did not perform so well. Seems like the time of making a quick buck with NFTs passed by pretty quickly. Nevertheless we've seen three NFT projects that sparked our interest:
🎩 The WWE turns the Undertaker into an NFT
World Wrestling Entertainment created their first-ever NFTs showcasing iconic moments from The Undertaker’s legendary career, along with never-before-sold memorabilia and experiences. The 4-tier NFT drop was aligned with the WrestleMania event on April 11 and done via Bitski. And it was a success! All NFTs were sold for a total of over $320,000. The unique gold NFT alone was sold for $100,000 and comes with a large package besides the NFT, including a personalised video message from the Undertaker and a Championship belt. Seems like betting on this legend has paid off for WWE!
💵 Damian Lillard launches Dame Time
Dame D.O.L.L.A. is a special one on and off the basketball court. That he also tried to prove with his NFT collection, announced as "the first NFT complete package". Here's how he played it:
- Partnership with leading sports artist Blake Jamieson
- Partnership with Adidas for tokenised sneakers to wear in the virtual world
- Partnership with GrowYourBase and The Sandbox Game to create "The Dame Game", an interactive game experience to which all Dame Time NFT holders will gain early access
- A 5-tier drop, with the top two tiers being auctions
The outcome? Not so great! Four days after the drop kicked off none of the two top tiers have been sold nor received significant offers. The highest sale was one in tier 3 for about $5k. While the idea itself with the partnerships and the gamification angle seemed to be a good one, the interest in his fan base speaks a different language.
🎨 The "Rembrandt of Sports"
Walter Iooss Jr. is seen as one of the greatest sports photographers. You might have not heard his name before, but his photographs have graced more than 300 covers of Sports Illustrated. Over the past 60 years he has taken pictures of some of the most iconic athletes in sports, amongst them Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Tiger Woods and Wayne Gretzky. Now some of his most iconic pictures are available in an NFT series called "G.O.A.T.s". They are selling quickly, but some are still available when this article gets published. All buyers will be entered into a raffle to win a physical print, 10% of the sales will be distributed equally amongst multiple charities. Hurry up if you want one of these great shots!
🥊 Triller to offer marketplace for short-form clips
This is an interesting one! TikTok competitor Triller, a social community of creators that post short-form video clips, has announced the launch of an NFT marketplace. The idea behind it: Every creator should be able to turn their work into an NFT with a few clicks and within a few seconds. A highly promising approach! Quoting Bobby Sarnevesht and Ryan Kavanaugh, co-controlling stakeholders of TrillerNet:
"We are thrilled to launch Triller NFT Marketplace, which will set a new standard for how fans, celebrities, influencers and collectors around the world can connect and transact important moments across sports, entertainment, fashion and pop culture"
To kick things off they have created the "first-ever combined current and future NFT token" offered to the public. For an astronomic Buy-It-Now option priced at $10m you would get:
- A 30-second video sequence of YouTube star-turned-boxer Jake Paul delivering a knockout punch to NBA's Nate Robinson and
- A second NFT: the winning 30 seconds of the upcoming April 17 match-up between Jake Paul and MMA champion and Olympian Ben Askren
Both are part of the Triller Fight Club streaming offering. While we doubt that someone will pay the $10m this is still an interesting concept. Also the first NFT is special as it will be a one-of-a-kind professionally produced video sequence, so it is not just the knockout sequence that everyone has seen in the stream (an argument that was often brought up against NBA Top Shot with moments that you can watch for free on YouTube).
Triller is definitely up to something!
👀 Fungible news
Even though Nifty Sports is mostly on the non fungible side of tokens, we do have our eyes on the fungible happenings as well. Two headlines caught our interest:
- Nike partners with HomeCourt and involve Kyrie Irving for training content. Activities will be rewarded with points that can be traded into digital sneakers.
- Chiliz partners with Rakuten Europe, members in the UK, Spain and Germany can now use Rakuten Points to redeem Fan Tokens. Further integrations are said to be explored.
🔮 What's next?!
Here are few predictions for the upcoming week(s), let's see if we're right.
- The MLB NFT launch will be a big success, with all packs selling out within a short amount of time. The WAX platform will be stable
- We won't see many NFT drops by athletes, as the current sentiment is clearly not a good one if not even stars like Damian Lillard can make things happen. Only officially backed content (like the WWE Undertaker drop) seem to have a chance of selling well, probably adding more "authority" and perceived long-time value to the product
- We hope to see more art! The "G.O.A.T.s" series was a spectacular one in our eyes, we'd like to see other photographers and artists following that example.